Saturday, January 6, 2001

Marty Schottenheimer is the new head coach and general manager for the Washington Redskins. The coaching job opened up after owner Daniel Snyder fired Norv Turner before regular season play ended. Mr. Snyder will pay Mr. Schottenheimer $10 million over four years, dish out another $8 million in incentives and give up two years’ of third-round draft picks to Mr. Schottenheimer’s former team. All Mr. Schottenheimer has to do is produce a winner.

The odds appear to favor Mr. Schottenheimer. As a head coach with NFL two teams (4 1/2 years with the Cleveland Browns and 10 with Kansas City), his record is 150-96-1. His teams made the playoffs 11 seasons out of 15. Washington, on the other hand, made the playoffs once under Norv Turner. So it seems the Redskins really have nothing to lose.

Owners and coaches around the league, as well as players and sports writers, agree. They say Mr. Schottenheimer, who is 57 years old, is the right man for the tough choices in the off season, and the right man to have on the sidelines. They use words like “passionate,” “leader,” “dedicated,” “enthusiastic,” “motivator,” “dedicated” and “accountable.” All fine qualities.

What Mr. Snyder wants, however, and other diehards deserve, is a winning team. They want a Redskins team dedicated to Mr. Schottenheimer’s proposition that the Super Bowl is the goal. Their expectations are well-founded because once your hometown team has won Super Bowl championships, nothing less will do. Indeed getting there will indeed take far more than X’s and O’s chalked during the Redskins’ five disappointing seasons. Of these, the last two were so miserable they left everyone asking, “Who’s the boss?”

Mr. Snyder, who pays all the bills, says the answer is Mr. Schottenheimer, and Mr. Schottenheimer, who had said he’d never coach for Mr. Snyder, comes up with the same opinion. Fans certainly are glad that that is settled at least for now.

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