Sporting News named John Madden the AFL Coach of the Year after the 1969 season, his first with the Raiders. In this story on February 10, 1970, TSN issue – titled “Brass Ring on First Try – Madden is AFL Coach of the Year” – note the story subplots : “John Knows How Laughs” and “Never too busy to explain. ” That gives you some very early insight into what went on to become a Hall of Fame coaching career and unique impact on broadcasting.
OAKLAND, California – The national football selection is hardly ever to please all fans, but it will be hard to find consensus with SPORTS NEWS John Madden’s choice of AFL Coach of the Year.
In his first season as the Oakland Raiders coach, he set a 12-1-1 record, an unprecedented feat in professional football. He replaced John Rauch, who had fled to Buffalo, complaining of interference from General Manager Al Davis.
Little known and giggling like a puppet for Davis from the start, Madden, just 33 years old, has instantly grown at a dandelion-like pace to rank as a promising young coach. best in the game.
This former professional player seems to have the frame (6-4, 260) that can handle all the problems and pressures of football of the era, and his ability to work matches of the a computer.
The player’s popular choice for the job, despite his lack of experience, but Madden communicates well with the front office.
Madden fulfilled the highest hopes for him. (The Raiders are the only professional football team to have won at least 12 games per game over the past three years.)
After the Raiders beat Buffalo, 50-21, in the middle of the season, Davis called his first press conference in years.
“I’ve wanted to say this before,” he insists, “but I’m afraid some people will think I’m just targeting John in case we lose. My role has changed during the season. This award goes from directing to supporting.
“I’m not more important than the lowest assistant coach right now. Madden has full control of the army. Rauch has never had such power. Madden doesn’t need my help: Rauch did it. The pressure didn’t keep Madden from doing it. mind.”
Madden is smart, eager, and a totally dedicated coach with his time.
John knows how to laugh
Madden had come to the Raiders just two years earlier. He wants to become a head coach one day, but even in his dreams, the opportunity does not come so soon. Madden took the Raiders slowly in the first half of the season, letting them peak in the tough second half.
The big redhead had another quality rare in trainers: a great sense of humour.
After the Raiders beat Houston in the playoffs, 56-7, he greeted the assembled writers and broadcasters with: “I hope you guys don’t expect this every week.”
Nothing seemed to upset Madden. At the time, he worried about his son, 4-year-old Joe, who had just been taken to the hospital with viral pneumonia and a temperature of 106 degrees.
And he was even his friendly after the Raiders were annoyed by Cincinnati.
“They simply played better than us,” he told the scribes. “They deserved to win.”
Tom Grimes, young journalist for Raiders, says that Madden likes to break up lengthy meetings in his office by going out occasionally and making small talk with other employees.
Never too busy to explain
No matter how busy Madden is, there is time for writer’s questions.
In the Oakland airport before the Raiders left for Denver, I was doing a magazine article comparing Daryle Lamonica to Roman Gabriel. Seeing Madden walking past, I asked him to explain any differences they had in setting and passing.
I don’t know that, at the time, Madden was in discussions with United Airline officials about whether to go to Salt Lake City or Omaha because of the heavy snowstorm in Denver.
However, he took the time not only to explain the differences but even demonstrate them in the airport lobby as if he had a soccer ball in his hand.
Growing up in the city of Daly, just south of San Francisco, John competed in all sorts of sports.
Madden recalls: “The other kids had all sorts of odd jobs, but Dad felt that the kids should have fun – work could come later, and I was happy to force him to compete in sports. year-round sports.”
Madden starred in football and basketball at Jefferson High in Daly City. He received several scholarship offers from major universities, but he decided to stay in California. He wants to teach and coach there. Or, again, he could become a lawyer.
He attended San Mateo College, where he went on to compete in two sports, and later finished at California Polytechnic University.
A knee injury sustained in 1959 during the Philadelphia Eagles’ training camp ended Madden’s professional career before it even began.
In 1960, Madden taught gymnastics at Orchid Junior College, and also worked as a basketball and football coach at Hancock JC. Two years later, he went to Hancock to teach health and fitness, and also as head coach of the soccer team.
Before joining the Raiders in 1967, John served as defensive coach at San Diego State (1964-66) and head coach at Hancock (1962-63).
Madden picked up his nickname “Fox” at Cal Poly. Even if he does move, he will return to Poly in the spring to coach alumni against Roy Hughes’ varsity.
“They had a ritual at Cal Poly,” explained John, when Hughes was winning every game. At the end of the game, the rooters will shout, “Go back, Silver Fox. Come back. He’ll come back, and As our alumni team starts to beat him, the rooters begin to start.” shouted: ‘Back to Red Fox, back.’
“The name stuck. I don’t know how they picked it up, but when I got to Oakland, they called me ‘Fox’.” They still are. ”
Staying on top is much more difficult than getting there. Still, Madden says he’s happy to lead a team with a built-in winning attitude.