I grew up in the ’90s when football was a family event on Saturdays and Sundays. You were either watching the Buckeyes or Browns in my house. The stories I remember the most are about the “Cardiac Kids” and “The Drive”. What was most notable about “The Drive” was the speech given to the Browns players just before kickoff, “There’s a gleam, men.. A gleam.” Ironically the coach giving that speech was one of the most passionate and sometimes outspoken NFL coaches of all time, Marty Schottenheimer. Unfortunately, the Browns would not win that game because of Broncos QB John Elway and what is now known as the infamous “Drive.”
Before we go any further, let’s take a glimpse into one of the most legendary coaches in Browns as well as NFL history.
Marty would be born and raised in Pennsylvania and attend the University of Pittsburgh. He played linebacker and would be drafted in 1965 to the Buffalo Bills of the AFL. He would help the Bills win the AFL Championship that same year, which would be the Bills’ only league championship even to this day. Marty would play with the Bills until 1968 and then move north to play with the Boston (now New England) Patriots until 1970.
Marty would retire from the game and make his way up the coaching ranks as a position coach and then serving as a coordinator through the 1970s. It wasn’t until 1980 when things would change for the old ball coach. In 1980, Marty would serve as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and vault them into arguably one of the better defensive teams of that time. As luck would have it, Marty would inherit the Browns after head coach Sam Rutigliano would get fired mid-season. Although the Browns would finish that season 5-11 things looked bright for the team with Marty being the new head coach. With an emphasis on defense, the Browns would smash teams into submission and with the drafting of legendary Browns QB Bernie Kosar in 1985 things only got better from there. During his tenure as Browns head coach, the Browns would win the AFC Central Division three times and make the playoffs his entire tenure as head coach. Two of those times meeting the Broncos in the AFC Championship game and losing both in what Cleveland fans know as “The Drive” in 1986 and “The Fumble” in 1987.
Marty and the Browns would make the playoffs one more time in 1988, which would be his last year in Cleveland. He finished his tenure with the Browns with a 44-27 record and a 2-4 record in the playoffs. He would also lead the Browns to three division titles and two conference championship appearances.
Marty would later go on to coach the Chiefs, Redskins, Chargers and Virginia Destroyers in the United League and win his last Championship in 2011.
He would retire from coaching after that season.
Sadly, over the years, Marty’s health would take a turn for the worse and he would pass away at the tender age of 77. His coaching methods may not have always been the best, but he knew how to get the best out of his players. Although his time in Cleveland was short, Marty will ALWAYS be remembered as one of the best and most passionate coaches this town has ever had. He will be missed.
Remember to get the gleam!!