Marty Schottenheimer, Legendary NFL Coach, Dies at 77

Coach for the Chargers, Chiefs, Washington and Browns had 200 wins in his career

Last Updated: February 9, 2021 @ 7:44 AM

Marty Schottenheimer, a legendary NFL coach with one of the most winning records in the history of football, has died. He was 77.

Schottenheimer died Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina of complications from Alzheimer’s after being relocated to hospice care on January 30. His passing was announced by former Kansas City Chiefs publicist Bob Moore. Schottenheimer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.

In his career as an NFL coach for teams such as the San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and Washington, he went 200-126-1 and is ranked eighth among coaches with the most wins in the game.

Despite his winning record and frequent trips to the postseason, Schottenheimer’s team frequently came up short in the playoffs and he never made it to the Super Bowl, either as a player or a coach, and his postseason record was just 5-13.

Schottenheimer was known for his conservative “Martyball” style of play, focusing on running and strong defense to slowly eat away yards, always telling his teammates to go “one play at a time.”

For the Chargers, whom he coached for four years between 2002 and 2006, he coached one of the all-time greats in LaDanian Tomlinson, who had called him the best coach he ever had, but who along with his teammates had an uncharacteristically bad loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots that led to Schottenheimer’s firing.

He briefly returned to football in 2011 and coached the Virginia Destroyers in the UFL, and he also worked as an NFL Insider for ESPN and would later appear on SportsCenter and NFL Live.

Schottenheimer also played six seasons in the NFL as a linebacker for both the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots. And his son Brian Schottenheimer is now on the coaching staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“We know he is looking down on us from heaven and smiling,” his daughter Kristin said in a statement. “We are so incredibly proud of the man he was and how he lived his life. Now more than ever, he would want us to do what he did best: put one foot in front of the other and keep grinding forward, to take care of each other and take care of business, to simply be good to people and love with every single fiber of your being to truly make the world a better place. To honor his legacy we ask you all to do the same. Smile to someone you don’t know today and Marty Schottenheimer will surely smile down on you.”

Added Chiefs’ Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt: “When Marty arrived in 1989, he reinvigorated what was then a struggling franchise and quickly turned the Chiefs into a consistent winner. Marty’s teams made Chiefs football a proud part of Kansas City’s identity once again, and the team’s resurgence forged a powerful bond with a new generation of fans who created the legendary home-field advantage at Arrowhead Stadium.”

He is survived by his wife, Pat, two children, Kristin and Brian, and four grandchildren.