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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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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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