Hall of Fame coach John Madden dead at 85
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At its core, however, Madden was a coach and, by extension, a teacher; As he proudly noted in interviews, he earned a master’s degree in physical education, a few credits short of a doctorate, from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. His improvised style also translated into the Raiders’ locker room, where he guided a group of self-proclaimed outlaws and misfits to eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons as a head coach, as he did it in salons, caves and bookstores.
“He was the one you saw on TV,” said Ted Hendricks, a Hall of Fame linebacker who played for Madden from 1975 to 1978. “He gave us freedom, but he always had control. total of its players. “
As inclusive as he was loved, Madden embodied a rare breed of athletic personality. He could relate to the Plumber from Pennsylvania or the Guardian from Kentucky – or the cameramen on his broadcast team – because he considered himself, deep down, an ordinary guy who knew a lot about football. Anchored by a crippling fear of flying, he met many of his fans as he crisscrossed the country, first on Amtrak trains, then in his Madden Cruiser, a decked-out coach that was a rare luxury concession for a man whose l The idea of a large as detailed in his book “One Size Does Not Fit All” (1988) wore “a tracksuit and sneakers in a real Mexican restaurant for nachos and a Chilean Colorado”.
For more than 20 years, this bus guided Madden to and from his missions, a fulfillment of sorts from a favorite book, “Travels with Charley,” by John Steinbeck, who had traveled America in a motorhome with his. poodle. When Madden greeted family and friends on his chartered flight to attend his induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in August 2006, it was the first time on a plane in 27 years.
“When you pulled up somewhere on that bus, it was like Air Force One had arrived,” said Fred Gaudelli, who as producer of Madden on ABC and NBC traveled with him for seven years. “It was amazing the way people reacted to this thing.”
If contemporaries like Bud Grant and Tom Landry embodied the archetype of the stoic coach, Madden served as their counterweight. He gave an iconoclastic and demonstrative presence, which echoed the spirit of the 1970s and the counter-cultural connection of Northern California, and which also suited his team of so-called renegades. The lasting image of Madden was that of her oversized figure leaping across the field, flouting the principles of touchdown decorum with flapping arms, mouth racing, and red hair falling against a rosy face.
Madden ditched the dress code and encouraged individual expression, tolerating his players’ penchant for wild nights and partying because, he knew, they would always give him their best effort, especially on Sunday. Unlike the disciplinarians of his time, he imposed few rules, asking them only to listen, be on time and play hard when he demanded it. Madden told the New York Times in 1969 that “there has to be an honesty for you to be yourself”; for him, that meant treating his players like “intelligent human beings”.
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