Mike Martz Speaker Profile
Mike Martz Biography
Mike Martz was born May 13, 1951 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is a former NFL head coach and currently the offensive coordinator for the National Football League's Chicago Bears.
Martz is best known as the offensive coordinator behind the St. Louis Rams high-powered 1999 team that won the Super Bowl. As a head coach in the NFL Martz was 56-36 in 5⅓ seasons as the St. Louis Rams head coach. He won two division titles, had four playoff berths including a NFC championship and a trip to Super Bowl XXXVI.
2001 saw the Rams cruise to a 142 record (with Martz's signature Greatest Show on Turf offense, behind two-time league MVP Kurt Warner) and the NFC West title. Martz's Rams went on to win the NFC Championship game against the Eagles before losing in Super Bowl XXXVI to New England.
In 2002 the Rams had a see-saw season in which Kurt Warner played injured and committed more turnovers than usual; Marshall Faulk was also not the factor he had been in previous years, although many faulted Martz for his tendency to emphasize the pass too much and not run Faulk more.
In 2003, Marc Bulger's first full year as a starter, the Rams fielded a much-improved defense under defensive coordinator Lovie Smith and led the NFL in forced turnovers, and they posted a 124 regular season record and made the playoffs. However, the Rams lost at home in the NFC divisional playoffs to the Carolina Panthers in a game that would have put them in the NFC title game. In that game, the Rams had the ball on the Panthers' 15 yard line with 42 seconds remaining and trailing by 3 points. Rather than go for the win in regulation, Martz made the controversial decision to run out the clock and settle for a game-tying field goal and overtime. The decision proved costly for the Rams as they lost in double overtime.
In 2004, the Rams got off to a slow start and Martz's popularity with the fans began to wane; the online community was particularly hostile. Despite the early struggles, a late-season rally combined with a weak NFC West allowed the Rams to sneak into the playoffs with an 88 record. They had to overcome an unusual number of injuries, but still managed to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the first round before losing to the Falcons in the divisional round. The loss of defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, who left for Chicago and took two of his assistants, clearly hurt the team.
On October 10, 2005, Martz took a leave of absence from the Rams to treat a persistent bacterial infection in his heart. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt handled coaching duties as the interim head coach for the rest of the season and offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild served as the play-caller. Martz told the Rams that after being examined and evaluated by his treating physician, Dr. Victoria Fraser, that his illness would prevent him from performing his duties. Martz immediately announced he would miss the rest of the season.
Martz allegedly had several conflicts with the St. Louis front office over the years which reportedly came to a climax in 2005. While recovering from his illness at home and watching a live Rams game on television, Martz was blocked by team president John Shaw from relaying a play call to Fairchild by phone. Martz continued to show up periodically at team practices late in the season, and was given medical clearance to coach the Rams' last regular season game on New Year's Day. However, the Rams declined to have Martz coach that game, and fired him on January 2, 2006.
During the seven years in which Martz was involved with the Rams, the team went to two of the franchise's three Super Bowls. His record of 555 with a lead any time in the 4th Qtr [91.7 winning %] and 26.5 pts a game as a head coach were the best of all time at the end of 2005 season by any coach in the history of the NFL.
Recently, Martz has been honored by the Rho Alpha Mu Sigma Fraternity with his likeness on Mt. Rammore. Featured with Martz are other Rams and Greatest Show on Turf alums, Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce. Honorable mentions were given to Orlando Pace, Torry Holt, Ricky Proehl and Az-Zahir Hakim.
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