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Mike Martz decides to retire

Mike Martz, Jay Cutler AP

One of the most innovative and polarizing coaches of his era won’t be coaching any longer.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reports that Mike Martz has decided to retire at the age of 61.

Martz was with the Bears as their offensive coordinator the last two years. His contract was up this offseason and it appeared that both the Bears and Martz were ready to move on from that relationship.

The news is a little curious considering that rumors were floated two months ago that Martz was interested in the Arizona State coaching job and other college possibilities. It could be that Martz didn’t see an obvious fit for a job in 2012 and thought hard about how much longer he wants to continue as an assistant.

Martz’s legacy will be of eye-popping offenses and unfulfilled potential. His “Greatest Show on Turf” offense when he was a coordinator with St. Louis in 1999 was years ahead of the rest of the NFL.

The offense was even better when he was the head coach of the 2001 Rams, but they fell to the Patriots in the Super Bowl in part due to Martz’s stubborn and singular offensive approach.

That was arguably the greatest Super Bowl upset of all time, and Martz was never quite the same afterwards. He never made it back to a conference championship game, and left the team in 2005 amidst health problems and organizational in-fighting.

Martz had short stints in Detroit, San Francisco, and Chicago as a coordinator since then.

While Martz wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, he was undeniably an influential coaching figure over the last 15 years. There wasn’t anyone quite like him.

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46 Responses to “Mike Martz decides to retire”
  1. gonzolo4 says: Jan 16, 2012 5:33 PM

    I’m sure he’ll be on the TV camera soon….

  2. Kyle Orton's Hangover says: Jan 16, 2012 5:33 PM

    “His “Greatest Show on Turf” offense when he was a coordinator with St. Louis in 1999 was years ahead of the rest of the NFL.

    The offense was even better when he was the head coach of the 2001 Rams, but they fell to the Patriots in the Super Bowl in part due to Martz’s stubborn and singular offensive approach.”

    Ahead of its time in 1999. Even better in 2001 but they lost in part because of it. Got it.

  3. themonster49 says: Jan 16, 2012 5:34 PM

    Good luck man. Enjoy!

  4. realfootballfan says: Jan 16, 2012 5:40 PM

    Here we sit, Martz forced into retirement and Hue Jackson fired after reviving two of the league’s worst offenses, but a dope like Dirk Coetter was only out of a job a couple of days while Bill Musgrave continues on his “how did this guy get another job” tour of duty with his third franchise.

    The world of the NFL, where it’s better to have one of your friends or somebody you know on the job than someone who actually is good at the job. Maybe Jeff Fisher can get Chuck Cecil back in soon, too.

  5. smacklayer says: Jan 16, 2012 5:42 PM

    I think his stubborness was his biggest problem. He has a good theory on paper, and it magically worked with the right parts back in St. Louis. But hard to capture lighting in a bottle twice. And he could never adjust his scheme to the pieces he was dealt.

  6. jimmylions says: Jan 16, 2012 5:42 PM

    Martz will be a TV commentator for a season and then get back in the game. He can’t be any worse at it than Matt Millen.

  7. finfanjim says: Jan 16, 2012 5:43 PM

    Quit while you have your health.

    Hope Martz has a happy retirement. He actually looks really good for 61…

  8. irishnativeson says: Jan 16, 2012 5:50 PM

    Since I never met the man I’ll reserve judgement on his personality. It does seem like he had a little trouble adjusting his offense to the personnel he was handed from time to time. Tampa isn’t a bad place to retire to, see if you can get the Buc’s offense straightened out, then ride off into the sunset, you wouldn’t even have to move.

  9. derekjetersmansion says: Jan 16, 2012 5:50 PM

    He did do NFL Network a couple years, so he’s not new to that.

  10. lasher1650 says: Jan 16, 2012 5:52 PM

    Given Martz never replicated his early offensive success that he enjoye in STL – one can reasonably ask the question, did Mike Martz’s offense lead to 5 potential hall of famers, or did 5 potential hall of famers lead to the success of the Martz offense.

  11. joelvis72 says: Jan 16, 2012 5:56 PM

    Well the Mad Scientist has decided to put his beakers and test tubes into storage. He hasn’t been the same since the controversy over the use (or non-use) of Marshall Faulk in Super Bowl XXXVI.

  12. andyreidisfat says: Jan 16, 2012 5:57 PM

    I’d like to see Martz in college football where his system is really ment to be used. I think he’d be a good recruiter as well, what wr, rb, or qb wouldn’t want to play college football for this guy?

    Not to mention he could work with kids who arn’t spoiled overpayed babies. Come to think of it, why would anyone want to coach in the nfl

  13. bassrecord says: Jan 16, 2012 6:07 PM

    As a Defense guy, there was no one I hated worse to defend against! He will go down in history as one if not the best offensive minds in the game.

    OK Canton, open up the Offensive Wing and welcome aboard Mike Martz!

  14. jg725 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:16 PM

    lasher1650 –

    you make an excellent point – although martz war was a great offensive mind – it really did seem like his huge ego always stopped him from really getting to that ” next level ” of coaching….. just my 2 cents

  15. farvite says: Jan 16, 2012 6:18 PM

    Forced into retirement.

  16. jessethebody says: Jan 16, 2012 6:34 PM

    Did he decide to retire or did the rest of the league decide for him?

  17. paleandpasty says: Jan 16, 2012 6:39 PM

    His 2001 rams lost to the patriots who illegally taped their superbowl walkthrough. He might be stubborn but the pats new every play.

  18. pencepost says: Jan 16, 2012 6:40 PM

    Reminds me of Hideo Nomo. Really good at first. Then everyone figured out how to beat him. Then a few desperate teams kept giving him chances.

  19. sisqsage says: Jan 16, 2012 6:40 PM

    Martz was original in many ways, not the least of which was he gravitated toward previous underdogs like Kurt Warner, Bulger and JTO to run his offenses in STL and SF.

    Cutler was the only previous big name guy to be his QB, and that was only because McDaniel didn’t want him.

    His QBs must have hated his mini-protection schemes that got them beatup more often than not.

    The ultimate high risk/high reward OC.

    If the Rams had won another SB, he would be more highly thought of, intead of bouncing around from team to team as an OC.

    That they didn’t is why he isn’t.

  20. lionsfanatic84 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:48 PM

    Stubborn, bull headed, and cranky? Yes, but an influence on the game? Big time! He turned a bagger at a grocery store into a super bowl hero, and helped influence the modern NFLs spread offense.
    Where else did Jon kitna pass for 4000 yards Roy Williams receive for 1000 yards?
    He was too stuck in his Air Coryell to actually run the ball for the most part, but when successful his offenses put up huge numbers
    Best of luck “mad scientist “

  21. daysend564 says: Jan 16, 2012 6:48 PM

    Part of the reason they lost the Superbowl was due to his stubborn offensive approach. The other was because they were filmed.

  22. ramcountry says: Jan 16, 2012 7:40 PM

    This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mad Mike.

    Definitely had a love/hate thing with the guy as a Ram fan, but there never was anything quite like the Greatest Show on Turf.

    From 1999-03, Martz’s offenses led the NFC in scoring four times and passing all five seasons. Air Coryell on Andro.

  23. zn0rseman says: Jan 16, 2012 7:58 PM

    Martz’s claim to fame was that he had Kurt Warner, Issac Bruce, Tory Holt and Marshal Faulk in their prime, and none of their success would ever taken place if Tony Banks hadn’t gotten hurt, because Banks was a favorite of Martz, and Warner would never have gotten a shot otherwise.

    Oh, and it helped that the officials rigged a couple of big games for them in 1999, otherwise that great team would never have won a Super Bowl. In other words they were the 1999 version of the 2009 Saints.

  24. kicksave1980 says: Jan 16, 2012 8:00 PM

    As a Rams fan age 15 (the year they moved to my hometown), I will always appreciate Mad Mike for what he did in 1999.

    As a HC, I hated him. Hindsght may be 20/20, but he helped set the Rams back a decade by favoring Bulger for so long (at all).

    All that said, thanks for being a part of a great, rare, memory for Rams fans, Mike. Author of the greatest offense of all time. Enjoy retirement!

  25. mayfieldroadboy says: Jan 16, 2012 8:14 PM

    I think Martz was an offensive genius, an alchemist who could turn human cast-offs into superbowl champions.

    A lot of the people on offense hated Martz because he made them “work” at the schemes more so than just “playing” the game.

    Yes, I greatly admired Air Coryell; and I greatly admire Mike Martz. Enjoy the day.

  26. dubblelznhell says: Jan 16, 2012 8:19 PM

    Weren’t the bears 7-3 before cutler went out with injury? They looked pretty damn good until then and people were pegging ‘em to be a contender up until that point.

  27. brewcitybummer says: Jan 16, 2012 8:20 PM

    The NFL evolves quickly. Martz’s scheme was cutting edge in the late 90s but by the mid 2000s it was hopelessly outdated. The rest of the offensively minded teams in the NFL have been giving their quarterbacks more and more power to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage, which is a neccessity due to the rise of the zone blitz.

    Meanwhile the poor quarterbacks that have been cursed to play for Martz in recent years have been deprived of the ability to make smart reads before the snap in order to protect themselves and look for the big play. The fact that the leaders of the Bears organization didn’t understand that when they hired him shows that they are so philosophically commited to defense that they are willfully ignorant about offense.

  28. edusregis says: Jan 16, 2012 8:35 PM

    My 12-yr old son just asked me who Mike Martz was.

  29. rubbernilly says: Jan 16, 2012 8:56 PM

    Thank goodness he never was coordinator or head coach for a Favre offense. That confluence of gun-slinger, all-in, throw first, then throw some more…

    …well, it brings to mind the Ghostbusters notion of “crossing the streams,” if you know what I mean.

    I think the universe as we know it might have ended.

  30. gosuhgo says: Jan 16, 2012 9:07 PM

    The world of the NFL, where it’s better to have one of your friends or somebody you know on the job than someone who actually is good at the job. Maybe Jeff Fisher can get Chuck Cecil back in soon, too.
    _____________________
    Sorry, that’s just…the world.

  31. edavidberg says: Jan 16, 2012 9:27 PM

    I have no love for the guy. His undeserved arrogance is off-putting. One would think after so much failure the last 5 plus years he would have developed some much needed humility.

    I appreciate his role as OC of the Rams, but I hold him responsible for that group of core guys only winning one title. I’d be more complementary of the guy’s accomplishment if he didn’t truly believe that he was an offensive genius in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Isn’t it about winning football games? It is hard to respect someone who is all about appearances.

  32. aljack88 says: Jan 16, 2012 9:39 PM

    paleandpasty says:
    Jan 16, 2012 6:39 PM
    His 2001 rams lost to the patriots who illegally taped their superbowl walkthrough. He might be stubborn but the pats new every play.
    ———————————————————–
    Why do you believe such a story?

    Can I sell you a used car? Trust me.

    There was NO taping of any superbowl practice walkthroughs.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3395152

    It really doesn’t take too much initiative to search for information on anything on the internet; there’s even web sites like “Google” that make it real easy.

    But the gist of that claim came from the Boston Herald, by a sports writer not on good terms with the Patriots, who retracted the story and issued an apology.

    “The Boston Herald regrets the damage done to the team by publication of the allegation, and sincerely apologizes to its readers and to the New England Patriots’ owners, players, employees and fans for our error.”

  33. garyman1 says: Jan 16, 2012 9:51 PM

    NO WAY, NO HOW he retires…. he just wanted some new scenery and get the hell away from the offensive (or lack thereof) weapons on the Bears.
    I’m not going to fall for that banana in the tail pipe.

    He’ll be back within 2 years.

  34. pacificnw7722 says: Jan 16, 2012 10:03 PM

    I went to use the bathroom at Halas Hall, on the wall it read…here I sit all broken hearted tried to pass but only farted.

    just kidding…have a NICE retirement Mike!

  35. klunge says: Jan 16, 2012 10:08 PM

    irishnativeson says:Jan 16, 2012 5:50 PM

    Tampa isn’t a bad place to retire to, see if you can get the Buc’s offense straightened out, then ride off into the sunset…
    ———————————————————

    Don’t ride too far into the sunset from Tampa…he and the horse will drown in the Gulf.

  36. steelbreeze676 says: Jan 16, 2012 10:22 PM

    He was a good coach, changed the game in a lot of ways.

  37. nabz034 says: Jan 16, 2012 10:26 PM

    Poor guy, he took the once pathetic Lions offense and won 7 games, next season after he was run out of town 0-16

    He took the Bears pathetic offense from two years ago and was on there way to the playoffs before Cutler got injured and got ran out of town.

    STL has been absolute garbage since he left, again, he was the scape goat.

    I don’t think Martz was the problem, if anything he won.

  38. buzzbissinger says: Jan 16, 2012 11:02 PM

    As a coach he sometimes made bad decisions clock management, instant replay wise, but as an OC, you had to love him. The NFL needs more risk-takers like Martz.

  39. breastsmoosh says: Jan 16, 2012 11:05 PM

    He has kinda chubby legs

  40. rajbais says: Jan 16, 2012 11:27 PM

    I can insult Martz, but not Rosenthal???

    At least Martz had a pair of balls!!!

  41. rajbais says: Jan 16, 2012 11:28 PM

    Retirement for Martz.

    Translation: I couldn’t find work and I had no place else to go.

  42. farvite says: Jan 16, 2012 11:49 PM

    Bummer. I was hoping he’d stick with duh Bearss a few more years.

    They seemed made for eachother.

  43. kingcarlbanks says: Jan 17, 2012 12:26 AM

    @zn0rseman

    You mean Trent Green, not Not Tony Banks.

  44. gmen1987 says: Jan 17, 2012 5:13 AM

    zn0rseman says: Jan 16, 2012 7:58 PM

    Martz’s claim to fame was that he had Kurt Warner, Issac Bruce, Tory Holt and Marshal Faulk in their prime, and none of their success would ever taken place if Tony Banks hadn’t gotten hurt, because Banks was a favorite of Martz, and Warner would never have gotten a shot otherwise.

    Oh, and it helped that the officials rigged a couple of big games for them in 1999, otherwise that great team would never have won a Super Bowl. In other words they were the 1999 version of the 2009 Saints.
    ======================================
    Put down the crackpipe, Goobs.

  45. gmen1987 says: Jan 17, 2012 5:14 AM

    Mike Martz was a locker room cancer. That was why he had so many stints and the stints were so short.

  46. joetoronto says: Jan 17, 2012 6:03 AM

    pacificnw7722 says: Jan 16, 2012 10:03 PM

    I went to use the bathroom at Halas Hall, on the wall it read…here I sit all broken hearted tried to pass but only farted.

    just kidding…have a NICE retirement Mike!
    **************************************************
    I remember this saying from back in the day, it goes….

    Here I sit, broken hearted, paid a dime and only farted. Yesterday, I took a chance, saved a dime and schit my pants.

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