- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

OK, how long does anyone think Steve Spurrier will last as the Washington Redskins coach?
One week? One month? One year?
I don't think you can get odds past a year.
Seriously, not even Dan Snyder's most ardent boot-lickers can say with a straight face that Spurrier still will have the job three years from now.
Based on what? Snyder's newfound patience? His track record for job security within the Redskins organization? His ability to work well with fellow egomaniacs?
His word?
"This is Marty Schottenheimer's organization from the standpoint of the final word," Snyder said after hiring Marty last January. "This is something he needs to have. It's important to have."
So much for promises.
It's not Marty's organization anymore. And it won't be Spurrier's or Ron Wolf's or Bobby Beathard's as long as Snyder owns this team.
"Many times perception is not reality," Snyder said last year after hiring Marty. "I think I'm pretty hands-off. As Marty learns spending a lot of time with me, I'm not as hands-on as it may sound because I'm young and I'm sometimes in the building."
He's still young. He still sometimes will be in the building. And as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, Spurrier's tenure won't last long.
There will be those who will claim Snyder kept his promise, that he was a hands-off owner, as if he had any choice after it was spelled out in the deal with Marty. They will point to the Redskins' 8-8 record and say that the owner wasn't the problem as if he had nothing to do with the 8-8 team the year before, one that had far less talent and heart than the team Marty somehow got to win eight games this season.
This will be a regular event like the Cherry Blossom Festival or the Marine Corps Marathon. It may not happen every year, but you can be sure it will happen enough that we should name it the process that includes the speculation by the media, the twisting in the wind of the current coach and the wooing of the next coach to be fired.
How about the Million Coach March?
Does anyone really think Steve Spurrier and Dan Snyder can co-exist? Marty may have been maddening because he kept so much close to the vest and chose every word carefully. But Spurrier is so full of himself he won't be able to hold his tongue the first time Snyder says something to him about a play the coach called, a practice he ran or a player he cut. We are talking about one of those smartest-guys-in-the-room types here. He won't be able to contain himself. Heck, I'm an idiot, and I know I can't stop myself from writing this stuff. There's too much material to ignore.
I don't know if Marty would have been the coach to lead the Redskins to the Super Bowl. As successful a coach as he has been a 158-104 record over 15 NFL seasons the knock on Marty has been that he can't win the big playoff games, and his 5-11 playoff record would seem to back that up. However, the next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing. So far, in two of Snyder's three years as owner, the Redskins haven't had a chance to lose in the playoffs. I think Marty was on the right track to get them there, to give them a chance at least to play and maybe win.
Really, what it came down to for Marty's critics this year were two personnel decisions cutting Larry Centers and going into the season with Jeff George. The biggest criticism the Redskins faced after last year besides a meddlesome owner was the Club Norv atmosphere of coach Norv Turner. Marty had a mandate to change the thinking of this franchise from the bottom up. That meant it was more important for every player on this team to follow all the rules of the new coach, at least early in his regime, until Marty could lay the foundation for a team with toughness. And based on how the team refused to quit this year, he was able to do so. If that meant Larry Centers had to work out here with the rest of his teammates during the offseason, then that is what had to happen. It didn't matter how many passes he would have caught.
As far as Jeff George, lay that one on Snyder. Based on the cap mess Marty inherited, I don't think they would have been in the running for a Doug Flutie or someone else. (And where did the Chargers wind up this year, anyway?) Jeff George was Marty's unspoken concession to the owner, given there were few options available anyway.
It doesn't really matter why Schottenheimer was fired, though. There always will be reasons. There were reasons for Norv, there were reasons for Marty and there will be reasons for the others to come. There will be new promises when they arrive, such as one declaration Marty made after he was hired here: "It begins today in a partnership in which two individuals have to begin the process of developing the kind of trust and interaction that I have no doubt Dan Snyder and I will achieve."
Save your newspapers from the news conference to hire the next coach. It'll be a hoot to go back and read them.

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