Jan. 5th 1997
As the 1996 Season concluded with 3 out of 4 losses and failure to win a game to make the playoffs, Rumors came spreading out that Carl Peterson's and Marty Schottenheimer's relationship was at the end of the road. With Carl Peterson getting an extention the following week, rumors flooded about the possible either resignation of Carl Peterson or the Firing of Marty.
DALLAS -- Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt is agonizing over a way to
extend general manager Carl Peterson's contract while satisfying
coach Marty Schottenheimer's desire for more control over
That is at the crux of Hunt's until-this-point unexplainable inactivity
regarding Peterson's soon-to-be-expired contract, according to
information provided to me by two sources, one with close ties to
the Hunt family here in Texas and the other with ties to the Chiefs'
Both sources asked not to be quoted or identified. Hunt, Peterson
and Schottenheimer have refused to comment on the issue.
Bottom line: The NFL's longest-running general manager/head
coach combination, Peterson and Schottenheimer, may be dying of
Neither Peterson nor Schottenheimer wants to pull the plug on the
life-support system that is keeping their eight-year partnership alive.
Both men want to remain in Kansas City and work for Hunt, but
they understand the natural limitations of their partnership.
Change is inevitable in the NFL. Two egos, two visions, two
philosophies can only co-exist only for so long.
The current trend in the NFL dictates that high-profile, proven (and
some unproven) coaches get control over personnel decisions --
Jimmy Johnson has it in Miami, Mike Shanahan has it in Denver,
Norv Turner has it in Washington, Bill Parcells had it in New
England and will get it again at the conclusion of this season, and
Dan Reeves and Bobby Ross are expected to get it with their next
Shottenheimer wants it in Kansas City.
He has been extremely disappointed with recent Kansas City drafts,
according to my sources. The Chiefs have gotten very little
production from their last two drafts. A team in desperate need of
offensive improvement, the Chiefs took two defensive backs
(Jerome Woods and Reggie Tongue) with their first two picks in
But it was the drafting of left tackle Trezelle Jenkins in the first round
of 1995's draft that particularly irked Schottenheimer. Jenkins has
been a bust. In two years, he has rarely played or been active for
games. Most draft experts projected Jenkins, who left Michigan a
year early, as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. According to my
sources, Chiefs vice president of player personnel Lynn Stiles fell in
love with Jenkins' size (6 feet 7 and 320 pounds), and Peterson,
whose contract expires on Jan. 31, fell in love with Jenkins' very
reasonable price tag.
One Chiefs player told me late this season that Jenkins' footwork is
so bad that "he couldn't kill a cockroach." Jenkins' bad footwork
wasn't a secret. Any football layman -- let alone paid professionals
-- should have been able to identify it with a cursory examination of
Jenkins' college game film.
Also, late this season, Schottenheimer spoke with me about his
desire to fail or succeed based on his own decision-making.
When I asked him whether that meant he wants to be general
manager and coach, Schottenheimer backpedaled and said he is
very comfortable in his current working relationship with Hunt and
That, apparently, isn't true. Whatever the case, Schottenheimer, 53,
is determined to erase his reputation as a 1990s Chuck Knox, a
good coach who can't take a team to the Super Bowl.
According to my sources, within the next week Hunt will offer
Peterson a contract that allows him to maintain his CEO, president
and general manager titles but also curtails his control over
personnel decisions. That authority would go to Schottenheimer
and/or Mark Hatley, the Chiefs' director of pro personnel.
(FYI: As head coach of the Browns, Schottenheimer drafted
linebacker busts Mike Junkin in 1987 and Clifford Charlton in
1988. Those first-round picks turned public sentiment against
Schottenheimer in Cleveland.)
If Peterson balks at such an arrangement, Hunt will be forced to
make a decision between Peterson and Schottenheimer.
Judging by Hunt's comments at the end of this regular season --
"Maybe we weren't a 13-3 team a year ago" -- it seems logical to
assume that Hunt believes Schottenheimer coached better than
Peterson performed in acquiring personnel.
Whether that means Peterson goes and Schottenheimer stays is
uncertain. Neither of my sources could speculate with any certainty
about what Hunt would do if he were forced to choose between the
two men most responsible for resurrecting the Chiefs.
That's why there's been such a delay.
We all know what Happened. Carl got the new contract and Marty resigned after the 98 season.
So If Lamar was Still Alive and could redo the situation over, Would he have given the extention to Peterson or would he have stuck with Marty? What do you believe he should do?