is a philosophy
associated with and named after
coach Marty Schottenheimer
simple terms, it means a focus on the running game, with passing
used only to further the running game.
Schottenheimer emphasizes offensive attacks that work as follows:
- First down: a rushing play.
- Second down: another rushing play.
- Third down: a pass attempt.
- Fourth down: punt (or field goal, if within
Fans (and critics) refer to this scheme as "Run, Run, Pass, Punt"
(R2P2). Schottenheimer is considered to be a conservatively-minded
coach with a majority of his focus on defense. The term "Marty
Ball" is generally considered a pejorative because, at times,
Schottenheimer will steadfastly continue to emphasize this form of
offensive attack while attempting to hold on to a thin lead or when
playing from behind - often with negative results.
In terms of regular season play in the NFL
Schottenheimer has run Marty Ball very successfully. During his
coaching career with the Cleveland
, Kansas City Chiefs
and San Diego Chargers
, Schottenheimer has
compiled an impressive 200-126-1 record. His teams have won 8
division titles (Browns: 3 times. Chiefs: 3 times. Chargers:
Twice.), made 13 trips to the NFL
(Browns: 4 trips. Chiefs: 7 trips. Chargers: Twice.),
and have reached the AFC
3 times (Browns: Twice. Chiefs: Once.).
Unfortunately, he has failed to execute Marty Ball in the
postseason, where he has an unimpressive 5-13 record and has never
reached the Super Bowl
. This has harmed his
coaching reputation and could cost him a spot in the Pro Football
Hall of Fame.
Although Schottenheimer assistants that have gone on to successful
head coaching careers--Bill Cowher
, and Herm Edwards
--have also employed similar
strategies of running the football and having a strong defense
(also known as Smash
), none have adopted the Marty Ball approach.
Edwards in particular is likely the closest to using the Marty Ball
strategy than any other Schottenheimer protege.
Dungy in particular all but abandoned the run-first philosophy
during his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts
, which normally passes
more due to Peyton Manning
on the team. In addition, Cowher had been known to take more risks
(such as making a fourth down conversion) than his mentor during
his tenure with the Pittsburgh
, and himself had successful passing offenses with
, Ben Roethlisberger
, and to a lesser
extent Tommy Maddox
the running game. Unlike Schottenheimer, both Cowher and Dungy have
both won a Super Bowl
Schottenheimer's final game as a head coach came in the 2006 AFC
Divisional Playoff, where his 14-2 Chargers were defeated 24-21 by
the New England Patriots
Ironically, the Patriots in 2006 faced three Marty Ball coaches in
Edwards (of the Jets
and Dungy; Dungy (the coach least adherent to the Marty Ball
philosophy) emerged with a bitterly-fought playoff win.