- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Following the Washington Redskins' Nov. 18 victory at Denver, reporters caught a rare glimpse of the real Marty Schottenheimer.
The doors of the Redskins' locker room remained open while the last few players came in from the field. Schottenheimer, the coach so stoic after wins and losses that reporters sometimes wonder if he watches the same games they do, went into the coaches' changing room and emerged after a few moments.
He was ecstatic. His hair stood on end, having been snarled by wearing a winter cap during the game. He pumped his fists and charged into the players' area.
"We beat those [expletive]," yelled Schottenheimer, whose team had just won its fourth straight after an 0-5 start to the season.
The doors were shut. Ten minutes later, Schottenheimer walked up to the podium in the interview room. He was absolutely emotionless. He looked as though he had been watching grass grow for the past four hours.
"We're 4-5, and I prefer to look at it that way," Schottenheimer said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. But the fact that we've found different ways to win I think is the most important thing for us."
Several Redskins interviewed privately this week conceded that Schottenheimer regularly displays emotion, particularly in the days leading up to games and in the moments after victories. Two players, in fact, called Schottenheimer the most emotional coach for whom they have played.
That's almost impossible to believe for reporters and fans, who week after week listen to Schottenheimer attribute absolutely no significance to any given game and watch him act as though nothing can excite or surprise him.
Schottenheimer's only previous public displays of emotion had come during training camp, when he sometimes would yell at the team or force it to repeat certain drills. But the coach seemed aware of being watched, and some of his outbursts even appeared contrived.
There also have been moments when Schottenheimer has shown emotion during interviews, at times even being moved to the brink of tears. But he invariably asks reporters not to print details of such conversations.
In sum, Schottenheimer, who worked as an ESPN analyst during his two years away from coaching, seems to have gone to great lengths to create a persona in Washington. And players say that persona has had a positive effect his even keel helps them to stay focused on upcoming games and forget past outcomes.
One player even laughed as he recalled how strange it felt to be 0-5 and still upbeat about the team's prospects. Players were joking with each other in the week following the "Monday Night Football." They were relaxed as they prepared for the Carolina Panthers, whom they beat in overtime after a fourth-quarter rally.
Schottenheimer's figurative injection of Thorazine apparently comes during the team prayer in the locker room following games. Prior to the prayer he might show emotion; by the time it's over, players say, he appears to have moved on completely. Shortly after that, he emerges to the public and says things like he did after last weekend's enormous 13-3 win at Philadelphia.
"We're .500," Schottenheimer said. "We'll move forward from here."
Most of Schottenheimer's emotion comes in days leading up to games. Players say he is just as emotional in current practices as he was during training camp, if not more so. And his emotion apparently peaks just before games though that was not the case at Philadelphia, where he allowed the game's significance to speak for itself, according to players.
In terms of post-games, the Denver outburst might have been Schottenheimer's biggest. One player this week speculated that Schottenheimer was particularly happy to win at Denver, where he had lost 10 of 12 times in his career with the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs.
Schottenheimer's often-subdued approach appears particularly suited to a team led by several high-character veterans. These players don't want to hear too much rah-rah stuff, and they know enough in down times not to point fingers. Players say that Schottenheimer never needed to tell anyone not to blame others during the slide he simply told them to keep their spirits up and to believe in their abilities.
Players, it should be noted, did not reveal too much about Schottenheimer's private side when interviewed for this article. They seemed to like the fact that he doesn't share everything with the public. One player said the team likes the way its coach keeps things "in-house," adding that it ultimately adds to unity.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide