February 12, 2007 – 10:23 pm
by Ryan Phillips
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that the San Diego Chargers have fired Marty Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer and general manager A.J. Smith had apparently been having disagreements over staffing following the loss of five assistant coaches, including both coordinators.
The relationship between Schottenheimer and Smith has always been icy. The two really don’t like each other personally and just seem to never be on the same page.
You might remember that after the Chargers’ mind-blowing 24-21 loss to the Patriots, team president Dean Spanos decided to bring back the long-time NFL coach because he thought Schottenheimer gave the Chargers its best chance to win. He even offered Marty an extension through 2008 worth $4.5 million. Schottenheimer declined the offer though because it only came with a $1 million buyout and it was clear that working with Smith had taken its toll on him.
So now the Chargers have lost six coaches off of a team that went 14-2. Does that makes sense to anyone else? In the playoffs they lost a game they dominated until the final five minutes and it certainly wasn’t coaching that lost that game, it was the players. Sure two of the guys became head coaches, but losing the other guys is inexcusable. As a Charger fan I have to say I’m disappointed, I think after this season Marty earned another shot. Sure he’s had limited playoff success, but this season’s loss wasn’t on him. I’m sad to see him go because if nothing else, Marty is a good guy, who handles himself with class and loves his players.
Rumors around San Diego say that this went down in such a strange way because Smith already has a replacement in place. The two main names being bandied about are Bill Parcells and Bill Cowher because they both have previous relationships with Smith. I find it hard to believe that Cowher (he’s the one whose wife is being insulted in this clip
) would have been involved in going behind his mentor’s back and then taking his job. So if the Chargers already have a replacement locked up I doubt Qualcomm Stadium will be roping off a Cowher “splash zone” or putting up plexi-glass spit shields any time soon.