‘The Biggest Present on Turf’ began with Don Coryell – ESPN – NFL Nation

Editor’s notice, this story initially ran in Feb. 6, 2016 and has been up to date to mirror Coryell’s Corridor of Fame inclusion.

Because the innovator behind the “The Biggest Present on Turf” and the pinnacle coach accountable for main the St. Louis Rams to a win in Tremendous Bowl XXXIV, NFL offensive guru Mike Martz had a front-row seat to the origins of that offense practically 50 years in the past.

Throughout 12 seasons at San Diego State, former San Diego Chargers head coach Don Coryell put collectively a formidable 104-19-2 report, successful two Division II championships.

The Aztecs had successful streaks of 31 and 21 video games, finishing undefeated campaigns in 1966 and 1969 throughout Coryell’s tenure. Coryell helped lead the Aztecs from a Division II to Division I program in 1969.

“What number of instances does a university group at halftime go to the opponent and say, ‘Hey, pay attention, we will have a working clock within the second half,’ ” Martz stated, ” ‘or that is going to get actually ugly.’

“He put a lot strain on folks within the passing recreation, they usually’d by no means seen it earlier than. He began that complete factor the place you threw third-down passes on first down. He simply attacked you relentlessly, and there was no-holds-barred.

“He had that Midas contact. Wherever he went, they only grew to become explosive, like nothing anyone had ever seen. And it did finally get the conservatism out of individuals. And so they began to alter. They began to embrace the passing recreation.”

Coryell shall be inducted posthumously to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Saturday.

A San Diego native, Martz was a slow-footed tight finish at Mesa Junior Faculty when Coryell’s offenses have been lighting up the scoreboard at San Diego State.

Martz beloved Coryell as a coach and badly needed to play for him. However Martz did not match Coryell’s system. A half dozen of Martz’s different teammates have been recruited to play for the Aztecs whereas Martz went on to play at Fresno State as an alternative.

Nonetheless, Coryell remembered him. Years later as an assistant coach at Arizona State, Martz was in his hometown on a recruiting journey and stopped by San Diego State to go to with a fellow coach.

After all, Coryell was on the follow area understanding a participant, and he noticed Martz about 80 yards away.

“I assumed, ‘Oh my gosh, I am in hassle now,'” Martz stated. “I am not purported to be right here and he’ll run me out of right here. And he got here strolling over and stated, ‘Hell, Mike Martz. It is so good to see you, the way you doing?’

“I used to be flabbergasted. How may he know my title? How did he know who I used to be? However that was Don. He by no means forgot anyone.

“I needed to play for him so dangerous. Everyone that grew up right here needed to play for Don Coryell. That is what you needed. I went to Fresno State, which was high-quality. It was an incredible profession for me and I beloved it there, however you grew up desirous to be part of it. Since you knew they have been totally different from what anyone had ever seen.”

Coryell, who died in July 2010, completed his teaching tenure with the Chargers after a 14-year profession within the NFL.

Martz paid homage to his mentor each season throughout his time with the Rams by bringing Coryell to St. Louis as an invited visitor for a Rams preseason dwelling recreation. Coryell went out for the pregame coin toss and interacted with gamers all through the week, plus attended an occasion hosted by former St. Louis Cardinals gamers.

After all, Coryell had numerous success on his personal whereas serving as head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, successful division championships in 1974 and ’75. Coryell’s Cardinals completed 42-27-1 over 5 seasons.

“Everyone who performed for us on the Rams understood that we do that stuff due to what this man did,” Martz stated. “He created this complete system and philosophy, and we’re simply persevering with the legacy. So once they lastly acquired to fulfill him, among the guys like Isaac [Bruce] have been in awe of the man — and rightly so.”

Whereas Coryell had success as a head coach and is understood for his innovation on offense, Martz stated what goes neglected generally was the relationships he developed with gamers, and his potential to inspire and coach.

“Speak to anyone that ever performed for him,” Martz stated. “I do not care whether or not it was at San Diego State in 1968 or with the Chargers in his later years — you simply take heed to anyone that was a coach or participant on his group, they usually speak about that coach with love and respect.

“He was simply so understated and had completely zero ego.”

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