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Chargers' loss wasn't all Schottenheimer's fault

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.superbowl.com/news/story/9936999">Superbowl.com</a>

    By Phil Simms

    <img width="224" height="208" align="left" title="Marty Schottenheimer is now 47-33 with the Chargers in the regular season, and 200-126 overall. " alt="Marty Schottenheimer is now 47-33 with the Chargers in the regular season, and 200-126 overall. " src="http://images.nfl.com/photos/features/img9604776.jpg" />(Jan. 17, 2007) -- It was fascinating to hear all the talk heading into the Patriots-Chargers Divisional Playoff Game. With all the stories to follow -- LaDainian Tomlinson, Shawne Merriman, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick -- the tremendous undercurrent was about whether or not Marty Schottenheimer would lose his job if San Diego lost. As I read all the articles and watched people talking about it on TV, I just thought to myself, "This is just a little too over the top." For lack of a better term - tabloid journalism.

    And now that San Diego did lose the game, this speculation did not die down. Just the opposite, in fact. Everybody were asking me about it. People are going over every little detail of the game, looking for things they can point to as being Schottenheimer's fault.

    To me the most absurd example of this is the Marlon McCree play in which the Chargers safety intercepted a fourth-down pass and then fumbled it back to New England. The coaches should have told him to knock it down, which is the criticism laid on Schottenheimer.

    Absurd. First off, the only time "just knock it down" really applies is very late in the half or late in regulation. There was still plenty of time left in the fourth quarter at that point. I don't know if that would enter a player's mind at that time. McCree said he was trying to score -- what do you want him to say? It's an instinct. You intercept the ball, you run. You try to avoid tackles and score. You can't blame that on the coach.

    Did they make some questionable decisions? Of course. Any time a team loses, you can second-guess the coach. As we nitpick every play, we can probably make a good argument.

    But how many good things did Schottenheimer have to do for the Chargers to go 14-2 this season? How many good things did he have to do to put his team in the position they were in?

    Yes, his playoff record is 5-13. I don't look at stuff like that, but I can't avoid it in this case, because that's all anyone talks about.

    Of course, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has a losing record in the playoffs -- if he loses this week, should he be replaced?

    We live in such a knee-jerk society, and I understand that. But the firing of Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 campaign is a pretty tough subject for me to debate.

    Some people might suggest that Schottenheimer's big-game history has a psychological effect. Sorry, but I can't imagine the Chargers players are thinking that the reputation of their coach is something they can't overcome. I can't even fathom that. Not only do they not take that into account, but they also understand that Schottenheimer created the atmosphere that enabled them to have the success they had.

    Folks, it's just not that easy to go 14-2 in the NFL.

    Will players question some of the decisions he made in the game and how he handled things? Absolutely. You question everything when you lose, especially when you have such a good team.

    I think anyone watching that game saw that the Chargers do have a lot of talent. But regardless of what you think, it would be a big, big risk for a 14-2 team to change coaches.

    In today's NFL, no matter how much talent you have, it doesn't take much to go from 14-2 with home-field advantage to 10-6 and playing a wild-card game on the road.

    So I guess the moral of the story is that the four coaches in this weekend's conference title games should beware: You are one game away from the Super Bowl, but if you lose this weekend, someone might call for your job.

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