- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer and owner Dan Snyder were too different to mesh and too alike to change. Ultimately, their parting was a relief to each.
Snyder fired Schottenheimer last night just 54 weeks after saying the coach would "set the destiny for the franchise." It was a slow ending to a power struggle that kept Snyder stewing for months, waiting to regain the total power he bestowed upon Schottenheimer.
Schottenheimer's deal with Snyder was simple: Snyder would end his hands-on style that undermined Norv Turner, and Schottenheimer would deliver a Super Bowl trophy. But as the losses quickly mounted, the pair became estranged. A five-game winning streak didn't absolve Schottenheimer of the team's 0-5 start, and each became more unalterably drawn down the path toward separation.
Snyder and minority partner Fred Drasner began thinking in September of making a coaching change at the end of the season, team sources said, even though Schottenheimer had just begun a four-year, $10 million deal. Schottenheimer pledged that his team would be a contender, but the Redskins' 8-8 finish was considered a lost season by Snyder.
They were always an odd couple as different as bonds and stocks, water and wine. Schottenheimer is an old-school conservative whose promise to be a communicator vanished when troubles mounted. Snyder is a deal-maker who enjoys free spending for marquee players.
Schottenheimer is a former pro linebacker who would slap fight with players after practice. The athletic persona never left Schottenheimer more than a quarter-century after he retired. Snyder is a fan who considers ownership the ultimate fantasy league. The owner would applaud players as they entered the locker room after victories. Schottenheimer simply would shake Snyder's hand; he had been there before in 15 previous seasons in Cleveland and Kansas City.
The two vacationed together at the start. They even wore matching straw hats at training camp. But it always was a business relationship. They were too different to bridge the gap to friendship.
Mostly, Schottenheimer was scared to give Snyder any real input, fearing the owner would try to regain control of personnel decisions. Snyder signed a number of aging marquee players in 2000 and nearly wrecked the team's salary cap for years to come, but Schottenheimer's fiscal conservatism left the Redskins $14 million under the 2002 limit fifth-best among NFL teams.
Schottenheimer didn't want to give Snyder another chance to make drastic moves, so he spoke little to the owner and cut him out of the loop. He realized too late that ownership gives Snyder the right to be involved. By then, the coach didn't really see the use of trying to patch the relationship.
Then again, Schottenheimer's tenure was a surprise from the start. Schottenheimer previously had denounced Snyder as a meddlesome owner and said he would never consider a job offer. Then came a $10 million deal, and Schottenheimer's tune changed to "Hail to the Redskins." After a litany of big names refused to be considered, Schottenheimer was the only marquee coach remaining, and Snyder's money proved too alluring for Schottenheimer.
Snyder reached an agreement to hire former Florida coach Steve Spurrier last night. The new coach must realize handling the board room can be as important as working the locker room around Redskin Park.

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