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Marty Schottenheimer: Buccaneers head coaching candidate

Marty Schottenheimer interviewed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, which gives us an excuse to look at his history and why he could fit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Marty Schottenheimer is extremely experienced as a head coach, gathering a 200-126-1 record in 22 seasons of coaching, although that astounding number of regular season wins is accompanied by a lackluster playoff record of 5-13 with no Super Bowl appearances, it's hard to argue that the Bucs would be worse off with the kind of success Marty Schottenheimer has brought in his other jobs.

Of course, Schottenheimer has had four previous stints as a head coach and this would not be his first rodeo. The question every Bucs fan will be asking himself if Schottenheimer is hired is: can Marty Schottenheimer win in the playoffs? He hasn't won consistently when prizes were at stake - except in the UFL - and with all his experience, he has never been on a staff that has won a championship as a coach. Is Marty Schottenheimer a coach who can take the Bucs to a championship? That's the question that must be answered.

Previous Experience

Linebacker, Buffalo Bills (AFL), 1965-1968
Linebacker, Boston Patriots (AFL/NFL), 1969-1970
Linebackers coach, Portland Storm (WFL), 1974
Linebackers coach, New York Giants, 1975-1976
Defensive Coordinator, New York Giants, 1977
Linebackers coach, Detroit Lions, 1978-1979
Defensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns, 1980-1984
Head Coach, Cleveland Browns, 1984-1988
Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs, 1989-1998
Head Coach, Washington Redskins, 2001
Head Coach, San Diego Chargers, 2002-2006
Head Coach, Virginia Destroyers (UFL), 2011

Why Marty Schottenheimer should be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Head Coach:

  1. Experience, experience, experience - and discipline
    Marty Schottenheimer has a lot of it, and the Bucs seem to put a premium on it after just firing one of the least experienced head coaches of all time. No other candidate has as much experience as Schottenheimer. 22 seasons as a head coach, that's tough to beat. It's not exactly futile experience, either. In those 22 seasons he only had two losing seasons, and he went out on top with a 14-2 season before being fired by Dean Spanos - ostensibly because he couldn't win a playoff game.

    But Marty Schottenheimer has consistently produced disciplined football teams that played hard and solid football. The kind of football the Bucs haven't been able to play in ages.
  2. Should be able to assemble a very strong coaching staff
    This is a list of the (former) head coaches who have spent time on Marty Schottenheimer's coaching staff: Bill Cowher, Gunther Cunningham, Tony Dungy, Lindy Infante, mike McCarthy, Herman Edwards, Cam Cameron, Wade Phillips, Tony Sparano, Hue Jackson, . He's been in the NFL for a very long time, has consistently put together quality coaching staffs, and has plenty of connections. If the Bucs hire Marty Schottenheimer, they will also have a quality coaching staff. And that's as important as the head coach.
  3. Has had success turning around franchises
    If the Bucs want someone who can turn around a poor NFL team quickly and effectively, Marty Schottenheimer has done it before. Before he got to the Cleveland Browns in 1984, that team had been to the playoffs just twice in the previous 10 years. Schottenheimer took the Browns to four playoff berths and two AFC championships in five seasons. The Kansas City Chiefs had just one playoff berth in the ten years before Schottenheimer coached the team. With Schottenheimer, the Chiefs made it to the playoffs in seven of ten seasons. When Schottenheimer took over the San Diego Chargers, they had been to the playoffs once in ten years. He got them to the playoffs twice in five years. If you want an experienced head coach who has turned around franchises, Marty Schottenheimer is the coach you want.
Why Marty Schottenheimer should not be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Head Coach:
  1. Old, old, old
    Marty Schottenheimer is old. For a head coach, he's very old. At 68, most coaches are retired, not looking for a new head coaching job. How will an old head coach like Schottenheimer work with the extremely young roster he will find in Tampa Bay? Can he connect with the players and get them to play? Does he still have the energy to be a head coach in the NFL? And if he does - how long will it last? Marv Levy did go to four Super Bowls from age 69 to age 72, but that's not exactly a frequent occurrence.
  2. Can he win in the playoffs?
    This is the question that will go through everyone's mind if the Bucs reach the playoffs with Marty Schottenheimer as the head coach, because Schottenheimer has not won much in the playoffs. He's reached three AFC Championship games in 22 years - and that's as far as he ever got. Of course, that playoff record includes some very close and unlucky losses. Only four of his thirteen playoff losses were by more than one score. Was he just a little unlucky, or is this a structural problem for Schottenheimer?
  3. Can he adjust to the new NFL?
    The NFL has become a passing league, and that becomes more clear every week as quarterback after quarterback sets new record. In comes Marty Schottenheimer and his conservative Marty Ball. Sitting on leads, running the football, being conservative in the passing game, leaning on defense: that's Marty Ball as he's practiced it in the past. It leads to relatively low-scoring, tight games. Can he win with that formula in the NFL, will he adjust his formula to the new NFL? That's a question the Bucs must answer before they can think about hiring him.
PS: For those who want some video footage of how Marty Schottenheimer works, check out NFL Film's look at him in their Top Ten Motivational Coaches feature.

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