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49ers hire Martz to take over offense

The San Francisco 49ers today announced the hiring of Mike Martz to the offensive coordinator position.

"Our players are accustomed to and deserve strong leadership and competency," Head Coach Mike Nolan said. "The addition of Mike Martz as offensive coordinator gives our offensive players both. Mike is an accomplished and highly successful offensive coach. That has had great success with individuals and entire offenses. I believe the addition of Mike will affect our offense and entire team in a positive way."

An experienced coach with a history of high-powered offenses, Martz joins San Francisco after serving as offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions for the past two seasons. Prior to his stint with the Lions, Martz was the Head Coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2000-2005 and offensive coordinator in 1999. While in St. Louis, Martz led the Rams to five playoff appearances, four 10-win seasons, three division titles, two Super Bowl appearances and one world championship (Super Bowl XXXIV).

When Martz re-joined the Rams organization as offensive coordinator in 1999, the Rams began one of the most impressive turnarounds in the history of the league. Between 1998 and 1999, St. Louis went from 4-12 to 13-3 and from last place in the NFC West to Super Bowl champions. Offensively, the Rams went from 27th overall (29th in rushing and 22nd in passing) to the best offensive unit in 1999 (fifth in rushing and first in passing). Since that season, the Rams offense, dubbed "The Greatest Show on Turf," has reigned as one of the most successful offenses in recent history.

As a team, the Rams offense scored 526 points in 1999, which is the fourth-best in NFL history, and accumulated a 17.8 margin of victory, which was third-best since 1950. The following season, they set a franchise record (third-best in NFL history) with 540 points. After scoring 503 points in 2001, St. Louis became the first NFL team to score at least 500 points in three straight seasons.

Martz's offensive philosophy, focusing on his ideal that "this is a game of speed and attitude," not only exists in passing the football, but also emphasizes the running game as a vital element to offensive production. As offensive coordinator of the Rams, Martz's rushing attack ranked second in the league with a 4.8 yards-per-rush average, and RB Marshall Faulk finished the year ranked fifth in the league with 1,381 yards and had the best yards-per-rush average (5.5). Between 1998 and 1999, the Rams went from 86.6 rushing yards-per-game average to 128.7, and rushing average of 3.5 to 4.8.

Martz's 2005 season as the Rams head coach was cut short when he missed the last 11 games due to a heart ailment. During his five full seasons (2000-2004) as the Rams head coach, Martz accumulated a record of 51-29 (.638) in the regular season and 54-33 (.621) overall. Only five coaches in NFL history have more regular season wins in their first five seasons. Prior to the 2005 season, Martz had the fourth-best regular season record among active coaches. His 24 wins during his first two seasons (2000-2001) is the third highest in NFL history, and his 43 regular season wins during his first four seasons as head coach is tied for the third highest in league history.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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