Mike Martz. The name alone is enough to elicit a wide range of emotions among St. Louis Rams fans, from the pleasant memories of offensive dominance to the sheer rage at his inability to run the team. An recent antecdote, revealed by our friend Phil at his blog, The Pulling Linemen, sums up Martz nicely with one tale of arrogance from Super Bowl XXXIV, when the Rams hung on to beat the Titans.
The Rams' Super Bowl win has come to be defined by "The Tackle," that heroic moment when Mike Jones brought down Titans receiver Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line to seal the Rams' victory. It was a bit of a narrative lapse considering the season had been defined by the Greatest Show on Turf and the ability to score points at will.
The Super Bowl win might have been defined by that too had it not been for Mike Martz.
Phil from the Pulling Linemen talked to former Rams tight end coach Lynn Stiles recently who revealed why such a prolific offense came away with just nine first half points in the Super Bowl, despite getting into the red zone five times.
When talking about Martz this weekend at the British American Football Coaches Association (BAFCA) annual convention, Stiles said "He changed our red zone offence on the Friday night before the Superbowl. We only had walkthroughs on the Saturday to try and install this stuff."
One of the most complex offenses in the game threw out its playbook two days before the Super Bowl, with just one walkthrough to learn it. The arrogance didn't stop there. Stiles was in charge of getting the Titans' blitz schemes in front of Martz and the offense, and what did Mad Mike say?
"I was in charge of calling the blitzes. I drew 'em up and showed them to [Martz]. He'd be like 'yeah, yeah, yeah, [imitates flicking through pages.] Don't worry about it, we'll get them.'"
Martz' blind fealty to himself doomed the Rams eventually, and I'm sure it played well in the interoffice territorial squabbles that came to define the team and produce such stunning results in the years afterward.
That Jeff Fisher is now the coach of the Rams, after losing to them in that Super Bowl, makes for a nice way to start a new chapter in the team's history.