Like you, I got the news that John Madden has announced his retirement. While he has been in broadcasting for over 25 years, I still remember him as the young short-sleeved head coach of the Raiders in the 1970s. He was only 32 when he became head coach, and he had tremendous success. His record as head coach in 10 years was an incredible 112-39-7, the highest winning percentage of all coaches with 100 wins. He led the Raiders to victory in SuperBowl XI, and he was inducted into Canton.
Among those wins was a playoff victory in 1977 at Memorial Stadium. A friend of mine and I went to the Stadium a couple of days before to buy tickets, and were told there were only obstructed view seats left. Amazingly they allowed us into the stadium to check out the seats prior to buying them. They were great seats, 35 yard line, lower deck, with about 15 square feet in the corner of one end zone obstructed. We bought them, and what a game we saw.
Bert Jones and Ken Stabler dueled it out to a tie score at the end of regulation. But The Raiders proved too much in OT, as Stabler connected to Dave Casper for an over-the-shoulder grab for the victory. The loss was the last NFL playoff game involving Baltimore for 23 years, and marked the zenith of the Ruston Rifle’s pro career. He had led the Colts to the playoffs three years in a row, only to lose in the first round each year. Had the Colts had a Ray Lewis from 1975-77, they may have won 3 straight Super Bowls.