Card: Topps AAF 2019 Certified
Acquired: EBay, 2020
An offensive mastermind, Mike Martz has had a career in coaching that has lasted nearly 50 years, in stops through college and the pros. He’d make his mark after joining the Los Angeles Rams in 1992 as a quarterbacks coach, and after the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995, he moved to coach the wide receivers. After a brief stay with the Redskins in 97 and 98, Martz returned to the Rams, as the franchise’s offensive coordinator in 1999 as they won Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans- with ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’.
“He was by far the smartest football mind I’ve ever been around. The things he was teaching was so far ahead of what others were teaching.”
– Rams QB Marc Bulger
In 2000, Mike would replace retiring Dick Vermeil as head coach, but the Rams failed to return to the Super Bowl, losing in the wild card to the Saints. Martz’s Rams rebounded in a big way in 2001, posting a 14-2 record and returning to the Super Bowl, but ultimately losing to the New England Patriots on a last second field goal. Mike coached with the Rams through 2005 and finished with a 53-32 record. His teams made the playoffs 4 times and finished in either first or second place every season.
Mike since then has coached with the Lions, 49ers, and Bears, as an offensive coordinator. He semi-retired from the sport in 2012, working as an analyst and occasional NFLPA Collegiate Bowl coach, before deciding to give it another shot in 2018.
Mike joined the Alliance of American Football in 2018, where he was hired to coach his hometown San Diego Fleet.
“It didn’t make any difference whether I was in high school. That’s what you do. You walk onto the practice field, and that’s who you are, that’s what you are. I can’t stop and go. That’s just where it is. To be any different would cheat these players. I love this game. I wouldn’t disrespect it by not being intense.”
Mike led the Fleet to a 3-5 record, dogged by quarterback issues. Still there were shades of the mad genius coming through with the Fleet as they finished second in total yards (2,649 yards), passing yards (1,798), and 4th in rushing (851 yards).
As previously discussed, AAF certified autographs from coaches are severely overpriced. Thankfully with all the XFL hoopla this autographed card snuck under the EBay radar set with a low bid. Typically Martz’s certifieds have floated around anywhere between 30-75 dollars. I think I sniped this one out under 10. It was doubly happy to nab this one, as Mike is not a great signer through the mail.
Mike was within two feet in the visitors’ endzone coaching his quarterbacks before the Fleet’s opener, but feeling his intensity, I chickened out on chatting it up with him or asking for his autograph. Charlie Ebersol came up to Mike and chatted with him about the league before they shuffled off to another drill.