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John Madden: Five things you probably didn’t know about the Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster

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On Jan. 9, 1977, John Madden was hoisted up by his players after the Raiders won their first Super Bowl. And while he reached the summit of his profession at age 40, Madden was still in the early stages of an unparalleled football career that included 10 years as an NFL head coach and 30 additional years in broadcasting. Madden is also the name behind the most iconic football video game of all time. 

Madden, who turned 85 earlier this year, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Upon retiring from broadcasting, Madden advised the NFL’s competition committee and safety panel. With a new documentary on his career set to air on Christmas Day, here are five things you may not know about Madden, a legendary coach and the voice of NFL Sunday’s for a generation of football fans. 

1. Lifelong coaching friend 

While he was born in Minnesota, Madden spent the majority of his childhood in Daly City, California. His best childhood friend was John Robinson, the former coach of USC and the Los Angeles Rams. Madden and Robinson both went to Oregon on football scholarships. While Robinson played four years for the Ducks, Madden eventually transferred to Cal Poly, where he became an all-conference offensive tackle. He also played catcher on the school’s baseball team. 

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“We were going to play for the Yankees in the summer and the 49ers in the winter,” Robinson said of he and Madden’s childhood dreams. “We began to realize that maybe this fabulous career wasn’t going to happen.” 

While they never became household names as athletes, Madden and Robinson were two of the best coaches of their era. Madden became the seventh coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in 1976. Robinson compiled an 8-1 bowl record as a college coach that included a 4-0 record in Rose Bowl games. He also led the Rams to NFC Championship Game appearances in 1985 and 1989. Robinson’s first Rose Bowl win took place just one week before Madden won his first Super Bowl inside the same stadium.

2. Career-ending injury a blessing in disguise 

The 244th overall pick in the 1958 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, Madden’s NFL career ended nearly as quickly as it began. He suffered a knee injury during his rookie training camp. While he was rehabbing, Madden decided to spend his free time watching film with quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, who was on the back nine of a Hall of Fame career. 

“He called me Red,” Madden recalled. “He said, ‘Hey Red, come on up here with me. I’m the only one there, so he’s talking out loud. … It was the greatest education I ever had, Norm Van Brocklin.” 

Two years after he was drafted by the Eagles, Madden officially broke into the coaching ranks. He spent four years at Allan Hancock College in California before spending an additional three seasons as San Diego State’s defensive coordinator. In 1967, Al Davis hired Madden to be his defensive coordinator with the Raiders. At the end of the season, Madden matched wits with his coaching idol, Vince Lombardi, who was coaching his final game for the Packers in Super Bowl II. Two years later, Davis surprised many by making the then 32-year-old Madden his new head coach. Davis chose Madden after Chuck Noll, who had just helped the Colts reach the Super Bowl as a defensive coordinator, accepted the head coaching position in Pittsburgh. 

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3. Record-setting head coach 

Madden compiled a .759 winning percentage in Oakland, the highest percentage in league history among coaches that have won 100 games. During his 10 seasons as the Raiders head coach, Madden led Oakland to the playoffs eight times. The Raiders appeared in seven AFC title games under Madden that included five straight from 1973-77. And after falling short in his first five AFC title games, Madden and the Raiders finally broke through in 1976. After a 13-1 regular season, the Raiders dethroned the Steelers — the team that defeated Oakland in the previous two AFC title games — to punch their first ticket to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XI, the Raiders dominated the Vikings behind a punishing rushing attack and equally devastating defense. Oakland received an MVP performance from Fred Biletnikoff, who set up three of the Raiders’ four offensive touchdowns. The Raiders won 32-14, and Madden and the Raiders were champions for the first time. 

“They can never take it away from you,” Madden said of his Super Bowl win. “Maybe the fact that we chased it so long made it bigger to us. It was the greatest feeling in the world. There’s nothing that can beat it.” 

While the Super Bowl took the cake, Madden was part of several legendary games during his time on the sideline. Those games include the “Immaculate Reception,” “The Sea of Hands,” the “Holly Roller,” and the “Ghost to the Post.”

4. The G.O.A.T meets the G.O.A.T.

Fittingly, the final Super Bowl broadcast for the iconic duo of Madden and Pat Summerall was Tom Brady’s first of seven Super Bowl wins. With Summerall and Madden providing the backdrop, Brady led the Patriots to one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history, as New England upset the heavily favored Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. 

In all, Madden and Summerall worked eight Super Bowls together (five on CBS), the most ever for a broadcast duo. And while their run ended with the “G.O.A.T.”, it began by calling Joe Montana’s (Brady’s childhood idol) first Super Bowl win: the 49ers’ 26-21 win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. 

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“He was John Wayne and Walter Cronkite,” Madden said of his longtime broadcast partner. “He could keep everything on an even keel. I’d be wandering off, and Pat could summarize it in like three words. And I’d think, ‘That’s what I was trying to say.’” 

Madden worked three more Super Bowls with Al Michaels that included his final broadcast: the Steelers’ dramatic victory over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Madden’s colorful analysis earned him 16 Emmy Awards, the 1994 NSAA National Sportscaster of the Year award and the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2002.

5. Madden’s ‘Cruiser’ earned Hall of Fame honor 

An aversion to flying resulted in Madden using a bus to travel to NFL games throughout most of his broadcasting career. A Greyhound bus was converted into the “Madden Cruiser” in 1987. In 2018, Madden donated the original “Madden Cruiser” to the Hall of Fame, where it was restored to its original condition. Included inside the original “Madden Cruiser” are two color televisions, a telephone and intercommunications system, a citizens band radio, two laser disc players, a built-in vacuum cleaner, a stereo system and a videotape player. The bus also includes a private bedroom with a queen sized bed, along with a full bathroom and a kitchenette, complete with a microwave oven. 

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Aaron Rodgers to the Jets? Giants' free agency options & Mike McCarthy's future with Cowboys | Ask Jay Glazer

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Jay Glazer discussed whether Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will head to the New York Jets, the New York Giants’ free agency options, and breaks down Mike McCarthy’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs and Eagles will meet for title in Arizona

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Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow. 

All he needed was a little shove.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona. 

The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favourite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. 

On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.

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The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback. 

This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.

The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title game earlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.

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Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018. 

Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.

The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down. 

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Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.

A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.

The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.

The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.

NO DRAMA IN NFC

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Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games. 

They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.

The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.

With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.

The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury. 

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Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:

WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?

FEB. 5

Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN

FEB. 12

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Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox

RIHANNA AT HALFTIME

Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.

The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

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Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” 

PRO BOWL MAKEOVER

The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.

The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

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“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”

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Ohio State hires James Laurinaitis & Tennessee extends Huepel's contract | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed Ohio State Buckeyes hiring former linebacker James Laurinaitis as a defensive GA. Joel believes that Laurinaitis can help transform the defense into a powerhouse like the offense is for wide receivers. He then discussed the Tennessee Volunteers giving Josh Huepel a contract extension after their 11-win season.



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