Tag Archives: detroit lions

Schottenheimer, Marty

Card: Proset 1990
Acquired: TTM 1994, C/o The Kansas City Chiefs

Linebacker Marty Schottenheimer was selected in by both the AFL (Buffalo, 7th round) and NFL (Baltimore, 5th round) of their respective 1965 drafts out of the University of Pittsburgh. He spent 4 seasons on the Bills roster (where it was comically shown on the retrospective “Full Color Football” that Schottenheimer’s name was so long on his jersey the type ran off the name plate and onto his right shoulder). He’d earn All Star honors in 1965, and be traded in 1971 to the Pittsburgh Steelers and again to the Boston Patriots before retiring.

Schottenheimer went into coaching in 1974 and worked for the Portland Storm in the World Football League as a linebackers coach, but before you knew it, less than 10 years after he got drafted by the Bills, Schottenheimer was coaching linebackers for the Giants in 1975. He’d then coach for the Lions on another 2 year stint, before catching on in 1980 with the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator where he established a smash mouth defense. In 1984, he’d get his chance as head coach, when Sam Rutigliano was fired midway through the season. He’d then be the face of the Browns for the next 4 seasons through 1988. The Browns would experience their last consistent slate of respect and success during the Schottenheimer era. He’d also establish what is commonly referred to as ‘Marty Ball’ and the team would lose two heartbreaking games in the playoffs, known as ‘The Drive’ and ‘the Fumble’. With the reemergence of the Oilers in 1988 as playoff contenders, The Browns would host them in the first round of the playoffs. Although favored to win, the Browns lost by a point. After the season was over Marty was fired, which angered many fans. His legacy with the team over 4 seasons was a large one as he finished with a 44-27 record and a 2-4 mark in the playoffs. The Browns alsobadvanced to the deepest levels of the NFL playoffs since before the AFL merger.

Schottenheimer wouldn’t be on the market for long. He’d head over to the Kansas City Chiefs to coach there for the next 10 seasons turning the team around from a laughing stock to playoff contender in 2 seasons. He’d win over 100 games with the franchise and the Chiefs would make the AFC Championship game in 1993. In addition they won the division 3 times and made 7 playoff appearances in those 10 seasons. He quit after a disappointing 1998 season. Marty served as an analyst for ESPN for a season or two, and then was hired to be coach of the Washington Redskins in 2001.

Sights were high for the capital city after Schottenheimer came to town that year and the media circus quickly circled Marty. With Deion Sanders ducking out the back door and quickly announcing his retirement to get away from Marty, controversy erupted. Schottenheimer installed his brand of Martyball and the team was off to a slow start out of the gate losing its first 5 games. The media portrayed Marty as being outdated and out of touch with the current league, both with players and in offensive philosophy. The Redskins would respond by winning their next 5 games- (a first in NFL history) and narrowly missed the playoffs at 8-8 . In fighting between Schottenheimer and owner Daniel Snyder, as Marty wanted more control of the franchise.  He was unceremoniously dismissed after one season.

Marty was quickly named coach of the San Diego Chargers, where he’d guide the team to two playoff appearances and named coach of the year in 2004. Despite posting a 14-2 record in the latter season he was fired. -The first coach to be fired after securing the home field advantage through the playoffs. The reason for his dumping ranged from the fact that he had a 0-2 playoff record with San Diego, to charges of nepotism as he brought on more of his family on board as coaches. A public fight between the Chargers and Deion Sanders didn’t help either, when Sanders announced his ‘unretirement’ to come back to the league to play for the cross state Raiders, Schottenheimer quickly nabbed his rights before the Raiders. Sanders tore the team for its archaic practices and swore never to play for the team. In the end, the Bolts continued to hold Sanders’ rights throughout the season. Anyway regardless of it all, Schottenheimer was fired in what was considered without cause and still collected his salary for the next season, which damned the franchise even more.

Marty has been since rehired to be an analyst by ESPN where he does an excellent job. After the Jets victory in the 2009 playoffs last season over heavily favored San Diego Chargers, coached by Marty’s replacement, he received a game ball in the mail from the team. His son coaches for the Jets and Rex Ryan felt his firing was an injustice to the game.

Schottenheimer’s greatest legacy besides the sheer number of victories is the impact of his coaching tree. A Lou Saban apostle, Schottenheimer has many notable coaches that have been under his wing including: Marvin Lewis, Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy.   To this date, Marty Schottenheimer is the winningest coach in the NFL not to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with 14 winning seasons in a 21 year career.

I really lobbied hard and hoped the Texans would hire Schottenheimer after they released Dom Capers but have been pleasantly surprised with Kubiak in the meantime. I got Marty’s autograph after the 1992 season in a few week’s time. Marty does want to return to coaching and was rumored to have been in line for the Buffalo Bills job in 2010, but the team went in a different direction.

Update- In 2011, Marty Schottenheimer created quite a buzz when he signed to coach with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL. He won the UFL championship later that year before the league was reorganized.

Games 327     Wins 200     Losses 126     Ties  1       Pct .613%

Thomas, Broderick ‘The Sandman’

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1996

Playing outside linebacker for the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the late 80’s, Broderick Thomas garnered the nickname of “The Sandman” for his lights out sacking ability and received 2 time All America Honors. The Buccaneers took a shot at him, drafting him #5 in the monster 1989 draft. Based on his ability, statistics and attitude, this to me I thought was a sure fire pick, and the team quickly branded him as the ‘future’ in the NFL at linebacker. The bar was set up incredibly high and Broderick would have a hard time living up to those expectations starting no games his rookie season. He’d see continued improvement, with 7.5 sacks at LOLB in 1990 and a career high 11 sacks in 1991 at ROLB where he also contributed 174 tackles that season. (Playing in Tampa however he’d not see the ProBowl.) Thomas would also pull down 2 picks and a touchdown and 3 fumbles in 1992, but with his sack numbers on the downward slide, he’d see free agency after 1993 where he only started 8 games.

In 5 years with the Buccaneers, Thomas would finish with 26.5 sacks- which is probably about half of what was expected of him by the franchise. He’d continue the NFC Central tour, playing for both the Lions and Vikings respectively a season a piece and finish his career playing for the Dallas Cowboys in 1996 and 1997.  I’d get his autograph while he was with the Cowboys at training camp in 1996 where he alternated at linebacker and defensive end. In fairness to Thomas, his statistics while not amazing, were respectable enough to allow him to become a respectable linebacker. He’d retire in 1998, due to a freak injury when he ripped his ACL during training camp.

Tragically sacrificing himself for the sport, Thomas has suffered from a variety of arthritic related conditions, panic attacks, and depression- all from football- but has somehow managed to continue on. Nowadays, Broderick runs Broderick Sports Entertainment, fundraises for childhood diabetes and passionately follows everything Cornhusker related as an active alumni. Thomas is a prime example of why we must not forget our former gladiators and that life after football is not just a send off to retirement and riches without worry or pain.

G/Gs  144/96    Tac 643   Sac 47.5    Fum 15
Int  2    Yds 81     Td  1     Lg  56T

Jones, Eric

Card: Pro Set WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person, San Antonio Riders v Birmingham Fire 1992.

After being touted by the Vanderbilt football program in 1988 as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Eric Jones was signed in 1989 the British Columbia Lions of the CFL.  June Jones and the Detroit Lions soon came a calling after a season ending injury to quarterback Rodney Peete where he was on the roster for the remainder of the season.

By 1991, Eric was picked up by the Birmingham Fire of the WLAF where he worked his way into the starting lineup after inconsistent play and injury took its tool on starting quarterback Brent Pease. Jones would also wear the helmet cam during the 1991 post season when the team faced the Dragons in the playoffs. In 1992 Eric was backup to Mike Norseth and played sparingly that season before the league disbanded. I’d get his autograph after the night game ended between the Riders and Fire. He was really gracious, and excited to sign my card.

Eric after football has worked his way into the medical field and is now involved with the Boston Scientific Corporation where he sells defibrillators and pacemakers. He resides in Macon, Ga with his wife and two children.

Games N/a   Att 87  Comp 41  Pct 47.1  Yds 495
Td 1   Int 9  Rat 29.3