American Football: Schottenheimer charges into 200 wins club

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The Independent Online

Only six men in National Football League history have coached more than 200 career wins. On Sunday Marty Schottenheimer joined that club after his San Diego Chargers struggled past the lowly Oakland Raiders, 17-13.

Schottenheimer has yet to emulate the other members of the exclusive club he has joined. The rest have all been involved in multiple championship games, yet the veteran leader has never reached the Super Bowl, despite being in his 21st season as a head coach.

The wait could end this year. The Chargers have won nine of 11 games this season, with their most important player being LaDanian Tomlinson. The running back struggled to impose himself early on Sunday but finished with two rushing touchdowns. He needs only five more scores to set an all-time record for most touchdowns in a season.

If Schottenheimer manages to steer his side to victory in Super Bowl XLI in Miami in February, it will validate his credentials as one of the best in the game.

Like the veteran coach, the Indianapolis quarterback, Peyton Manning, also needs that seal of approval. Hugely talented and consistently productive, Manning has yet to guide his side to the ultimate game.

Yet personal records continue to tumble. On Sunday, as the Colts thrashed the Philadelphia Eagles 45-21, Manning became the fastest player in NFL history to complete 3,000 pass attempts, breaking the record shared by Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe.