Vermeil retires after Super Bowl win

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dick Vermeil is going out on top.
On Tuesday, two days after winning his first Super Bowl and after a long talk with his wife, the 63-year-old coach of the St. Louis Rams announced his retirement.
His eyes filled with tears and his voice choked with emotion, Vermeil said it was “an unbelievable feeling” to leave as a champion.
“I think the time is right,” he said, the Super Bowl trophy sitting on a table to his right. “Very few people in this profession get this opportunity.”
This exit was a lot different than the first time he walked away from NFL coaching, complaining of burnout when he left the Philadelphia Eagles.
The decision elevates offensive coordinator Mike Martz to head coach. The Rams signed Martz, who directed the NFL’s top-rated offense and produced 526 points — third highest in league history — to a new two-year contract in December that assured he would inherit Vermeil’s job.
Martz, who is scheduled to undergo surgery for a neck problem that bothered him all season, did not attend the news conference.
Vermeil coached two Super Bowl teams 19 years apart. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1981, and that 27-10 loss fueled his return to the profession in 1997. He leaves the Rams with two years to go on a five-year contract.
Vermeil led the Rams to a 13-3 record this year after winning only nine games his first two years with the team.
Vermeil was close to missing the 1999-00 season because of his disastrous beginning with the team. After the Rams went 5-11 and 4-12 in his first two seasons, there was talk that he could be fired.
The players weren’t happy, either. Most of it was only grumbling because of extremely hard practices that often left the players exhausted before they stepped on the field on Sundays.
But four prominent players, including cornerback Todd Lyght, boycotted the final team meeting of the 1998 season. That sent a message to the coach, who described it at the time as a “shot in the back.”
Vermeil, however, weathered the problems and led the team to an incredible turnaround.