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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/08/2007

    Mike Martz always referred to the era as a "special place in time." Back then, and not so long ago, the Rams were winning most of their games. They were wildly entertaining, never dull, and often unstoppable.

    With Martz on the sidelines as head coach from the 2000 opener until his final game on Oct. 9, 2005, the Rams won 56 games and lost 36 (including the postseason) for a winning percentage of .609. Martz's orchestration of the offense's wondrous talent and track-star speed produced an average of 26.5 points a game.

    Over his last two seasons that had dropped to 20 points per game.

    If you want to include the 1999 season, when Martz served as Dick Vermeil's offensive coordinator, the Rams were 72-39 (.648) and averaged 27.4 points a game with Martz in the house, drawing up game plans. They went to two Super Bowls, winning one.

    A special place and time, indeed.

    Since Martz checked out of Rams Park first due to an illness, then through his firing the franchise is 12-23 and has scored 20 points a game. It's been a startling decline.

    I'm not trying to revise history here. Martz drove Rams fans wacko with his use of timeouts and replay challenges and unconventional methods. He hired cronies. He successfully lobbied for too many lousy draft picks that eventually eroded the talent base, a reason the 0-8 Rams are in such rough shape today.

    And it all fell apart in 2005 when Martz got into a beef with his bosses, refusing to accept the reality that those who run the team will always prevail in those conflicts. A soap opera turned into irreconcilable differences, then a bitter football divorce.

    Here's the bottom line: The occasionally zany methods, and the Martz madness, ultimately provided the best and most exciting football this town has ever witnessed. That is indisputable.

    It all ended too soon. Martz lost a fierce power struggle to Rams executive Jay Zygmunt in 2005. Zygmunt not only survived the duel in Earth City but was promoted to general manager by Rams President John Shaw.

    But if you expect Martz to exercise his right to get the last laugh on the men who sacked him, he won't do it. The Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator is calm and at peace and enjoying the team's surprising 6-2 season.

    Martz politely declined to be interviewed this week, but did pass along a couple of messages: He doesn't like seeing the Rams lose and suffering through hard times, especially the players who worked for him. And Martz also wanted it known that he likes and respects Rams head coach Scott Linehan and hopes the Rams will rebound.

    A gracious Martz has no desire to take shots at Zygmunt or Shaw. He's looking ahead. Martz is repositioning himself for another head-coaching opportunity, so there is no reason to look back. Not with the Lions playing so well as one of the NFL's surprises.

    Head coach Rod Marinelli has the Lions playing hungry, hard, and opportunistic football. The Detroit defense leads the NFL in takeaways, and Martz has put together a snazzy offense that features underrated running back Kevin Jones, and tenacious quarterback Jon Kitna throwing to Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and former Rams Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald.

    If the Lions can navigate a tough second-half schedule that includes two games against Green Bay, and single meetings with Dallas, San Diego and the New York Giants, they'll pin down their first postseason bid since the 1999 season.

    Martz has played a major part in changing the Lions' loser attitude. Sure, there are problems. Kitna has been sacked more times (33) than any NFL quarterback, and red-zone offense is erratic. Martz has been criticized for passing too much (sounds familiar, eh?). But the Lions don't back off, or lose heart.

    "There's no brake pedal for Martz," Kitna told reporters. "It's gas down and let's ride all the time with him. We respond to that on offense. We play better on offense when we're aggressive."

    That's how Martz does it. Even during turbulent times in St. Louis, Martz could get his guys to play with a confident, almost arrogant, attitude. In a recent interview, former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner (now starting for Arizona) discussed the impact Martz's personality had on those Rams.

    "He made it clear that he wasn't afraid of anything," Warner said. "And that empowered the players. He gave us ownership. He put the ball in our hands, and told us to make plays. We were good, but with that attitude, we wanted to be great in every game. There was no fear of failure. We drew our mental toughness and strength from him."

    OK, I'm getting nostalgic here. Can't help it.

    Sure, Martz was eccentric and moody and all of that. But are the Rams better off with him or without him?

    C'mon, admit it: You may have dissed Martz back in the day, but you miss Mad Mike now.


  2. #2
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    "He made it clear that he wasn't afraid of anything," Warner said. "And that empowered the players. He gave us ownership. He put the ball in our hands, and told us to make plays. We were good, but with that attitude, we wanted to be great in every game. There was no fear of failure. We drew our mental toughness and strength from him."

    And that is what endeared me to Martz.

  3. #3
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Quote Originally Posted by Txramsfan View Post
    ...And that is what endeared me to Martz.

    Same here, amigo. ...Hey, it's good to see you again! :bash:

  4. #4
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Hey Jorge,

    Been a tough year personally also but hey, it's only football here right?

  5. #5
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    And just when folks thought the Mad Martz would fade into the sunset and the minds of Ram's fans.

    Darn if his ghost still doesn't haunt the Rams. Persoanlly I never wanted Martz to go--just be placed under some control--a job that a team manager is suppose to do.

    It doesn't matter if one likes or hates Martz, fact is he is good at his profession. Proof, the Detroit Lions of all teams are a surprise. It can't be said that Martz turned around the Lions all by himself, but darn if he isn't one of the key reasons for their success.

    I guess Madman Mike Martz does indeed have the last laugh. I just hope that where ever he winds up if not the Rams, that it isn't for anyone else in the NFC-west

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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Take good care TX -- I hope all things improve for you; may changes come for the better.

    And the 'football here' has been horrible, sadly. Our poor Rams... :\


    :bash: Maybe Coach Madness will show some empathy and returns to us.

  7. #7
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    I guess Bernie thinks we won't remember how he constantly tried to undermine Martz and discredit him. Now he wants to hold him up as a hero?

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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Hey tx....good to see you lurking about.

    I'd like to echo RealRam's sentiments and wish you better times ahead.

    Along different lines, I distinctly remember, during the end of Martz's tenure, you saying that Mike Martz was the best thing that ever happend to the Rams.

    In retrospect, I'd say you were 100% correct.
    Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster

  9. #9
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Holy carp batman....He is back!!

    WELCOME HOME!! Now get posting!!


    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    "He made it clear that he wasn't afraid of anything," Warner said. "And that empowered the players. He gave us ownership. He put the ball in our hands, and told us to make plays. We were good, but with that attitude, we wanted to be great in every game. There was no fear of failure. We drew our mental toughness and strength from him."

    And that is what endeared me to Martz.

  10. #10
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I guess Bernie thinks we won't remember how he constantly tried to undermine Martz and discredit him. Now he wants to hold him up as a hero?
    Exactly right, the bare faced cheek of this article is outstanding even for Bernie.

  11. #11
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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    They got rid of Martz before the Rams became the laughing stock of the league....................................Oh wait , scratch taht.
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Wow, TX & Yodude , Didn't know if you 2 were around anymore. Great to see U's are.
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    i was hurt when martz left cause i knew we lost our magic on offense that separated us from other football teams now we are stuck with the old dolphins offense while martz goes on to break offensive records (34-points in the 4TH qtr) with the lions and continue to give their team a breath of fresh air on offense i recall one lions fan sayin we may not have the best team but with martz we have a chance to outscore anyone and we all know points are what wins games
    Torry Holt Dont play that

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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    Martz is clearly the reason why the Rams have hardly any players starting on defense drafted in his era. Big reason why the defense is awful.

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    Re: Under Martz, Rams at least gave the fans entertainment

    The Lions won't make the playoffs and they will never score 44 pts. again!!!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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