Column: Chargers recall mastering ‘Martyball’ in 2006 season

“Air Coryell” thrilled San Diegans with aerial artistry.

“Martyball” was different.

This was a show of explosive power, like waves crashing ashore after a winter storm.

Having grown into NFL bullies under Marty Schottenheimer, a former AFL linebacker, the 2006 Chargers pounded out NFL-best totals of 32 rushing touchdowns and 61 sacks. They were first with a 14-2 record.


Power denoted not only the style under Schottenheimer, who died Tuesday at 77 after a lengthy bout with Alzheimer’s disease, but also the staple play of an offense that ran the ball on 51.2 percent of its snaps.

“Power 40” and “Power 50” runs defined the offense.

They featured a pulling guard (either Kris Dielman or Mike Goff) slamming into a linebacker, as two frontside blockers charged into one lineman.

Also on the attack was fullback Lorenzo Neal, in the midst of earning his first of two All-Pro berths. Next came running back LaDainian Tomlinson, quick, fast, agile but also — at 221 pounds — larger than he appeared. He had the football. If he needed a breather, Michael Turner was a willing, larger sledgehammer.


Schottenheimer ate it up.

“Marty loved to run the football and our teams were built to be physical, tough and smart, all characteristics that embodied who he was, where he was from (Pittsburgh area), what he believed in, and how he believed you win in the NFL, something he did at every stop,” said…

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