Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Martyball Redux? Hell YES!

The San Diego Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer last night. Rich Swerbinsky has an article today suggesting that the Cleveland Browns should snap him up. Rich, count me in. I think the Cleveland Browns are tailor-made for one of Marty's patented franchise turnarounds. I think that like the teams he inherited during his first stint here, and then subsequently in Kansas City and San Diego, the talent is better than the team's performance would indicate.

Sure, like everybody else, I'm painfully aware of The Drive and The Fumble and the rest of Marty's post-season mishaps. As far as I'm concerned, postseason heartbreak is infinitely preferable to dreary incompetence. And when it comes to the regular season, Marty's not just competent, he's brilliant.

Marty Schottenheimer started his career as a head coach by taking a 1-7 Browns team and going 4-4. He followed that up with four consecutive playoff appearances, two Central Division titles and two AFC Championship game appearances. When Art Modell fired him, he moved on to Kansas City. In his first year there, he took a team that went 4-11-1 in 1988 and coached it to an 8-7-1 record, good enough for second in the AFC West. Marty averaged 10 wins a year during his tenure with Kansas City and made the playoffs seven times in the 1990s--something matched only by the San Francisco 49ers. Then it was on to Washington for a one year stint as the Redskins head coach (8-8). Marty then signed on with the Chargers, where (surprise!) he quickly turned a team that had gone 5-11 in 2001 into one of the AFC's elite franchises.

Based on the team's inability to attract high-profile assistant coaches, it looks like the rest of the NFL has already figured out that the Crennel regime is taking on water. I'm guessing that free agents are going to send out a similar message. So, there's no time like the present to preempt the Romeo Crennel death watch.

One of the most compelling arguments for keeping Romeo Crennel around for another year is that if the Browns replace him, they'll start from square one and begin another multi-year rebuilding process. I guess that argument assumes that you buy into the idea that the Browns have made "progress," as the increasingly delusional Phil Savage asserted in his last press conference. But even if you're inclined to share a drink of Phil's Kool-Aid, you've got to admit that Schottenheimer provides the team with a unique opportunity to shorten the rebuilding process ordinarily associated with a coaching change by several years. Marty's got a proven track record of taking over bad teams and making them contenders very quickly. He hasn't done it just once, but three times for three very different organizations.

It's time for Cleveland to offer Marty Schottenheimer a chance to finish his head coaching career where it started. As a Browns fan, I know I'll need medication to get through the season, but I'd rather reach for Roll-Aids than No-Doze.


Vinny said...

Anybody But Marty.

More later.

Mike said...

Move away from the past, please, move away from the past.

Kurt Schottenheimer said...

You are soooooo right! This gig at Arby's is really wearing on me ... try our horsey sauce ... really ... it's good.