With rumors swirling that Mike Martz (pictured above, demonstrating how to walk like an Egyptian) could be entertaining head coaching offers around the league as early as this offseason, I think it's important to revisit Martz's tenure with the Rams. He had tremendous success on offense, although he inherited the lineup from Dick Vermeil. He's been known to burn through timeouts, completely ignore the run, and do things completely on his own will. When he went down with a heart ailment last year, the Rams wouldn't even let him keep in contact with the team. It's not exactly the nicest thing the Rams could have done, but I wouldn't be surprised if Martz was just, at the very least, a little bit of an asshole, either.
But what about his actual coaching style? Well, he had a chance to win a Super Bowl as a head coach after winning as the offensive coordinator with the Rams, but lost to the Patriots. Great coaches, successful ones, adjust on the fly and will make the necessary changes to beat an opponent. The Rams? They had no interest in that. They'd been The Greatest Show on Turf all year long, and they were going to go down that way as well, even if the Patriots knew exactly how to stop it. I'm currently slogging through Sports Illustrated's Great Football Writing, which features an excerpt from David Halberstam's book on Bill Belichick. It ends like so:
The Patriots, Jaworski also noted, had used five or more defensive backs 74% of the time. Sometimes they used seven defensive backs. "Think about that -- there are teams that don't carry seven defensive backs," he said. With all those defensive backs out there, the Rams would have had better success running the ball more at the smaller backs, but they had failed to do that. In that sense, Jaworski believed, Belichick had outsmarted the very bright Rams coach, Mike Martz. "I talked with Ricky Proehl after the game," Jaworski said, "and he told me that the Rams players were all on the sideline during the second half, screaming at the coaches that the Patriots were playing five and six defensive backs, that they had to run the ball, that the run was there every time. But Martz was telling them, 'Fuck it, I'm going to win it my way.'"
So, NFL GMs, that's what you're getting. Buyer beware.