Martyball, the Chargers Years: Legendary Coach's Run Not as Special as You Think

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Martyball, the Chargers Years: Legendary Coach's Run Not as Special as You Think
Harry How/Getty Images

January 14, 2007 is a date no Charger fan will ever forget. 

After finishing the regular season with the best record in football, the Bolts lost a 10-point lead (and the game-sealing interception, thanks to Troy Brown's stripping of safety Marlon McCree) in the fourth quarter and were eliminated at home against the Patriots.

That description doesn't even begin to explain what happened that Sunday.  There were numerous culprits that day besides Marty Schottenheimer.  Eric Parker, Shane Olivea and Drayton Florence all committed crucial mistakes.  Philip Rivers threw his first playoff interception on a screen pass.  Nate Kaeding missed a field-goal attempt (albeit a long one) that would have sent the game into overtime.

But Schottenheimer paid the biggest price for the loss. 

He often is listed on any Top-10 list of coaches never to win (or even reach) a Super Bowl.  The game would be the last one he would ever coach and convinced any doubters that he could not survive an NFL postseason. 

He was fired the following month, after Dean Spanos decided that Schottenheimer could not work with General Manager AJ Smith

Now a book, Martyball!, has been released, which reportedly paints a rather unflattering portrait of Smith.  However, Jeff Flanagan supposedly gives Marty a relative pass on his responsibility in two Charger playoff meltdowns. 

Now that both Smith and Schottenheimer's successor Norv Turner have been fired, it would seem an appropriate time to examine the final chapter in Schottenheimer's legacy.

Even with after the constant blunders of the last three years of the Norv era, the "good old days" may not have been as good as some would like to think.

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