Al Davis: Raiders Owner Turned John Madden into a Super Star

The Biggest Loser scale could not withstand the enormity of the collective NFL heart today as we digest the passing of icon Al Davis. Many will grieve in their own Silver and Black way today, but the heaviest heart should be that of former Raiders head coach John Madden.

The importance of Al Davis on John Madden’s career is not lost on the gregarious former coach and longtime friend:

Al Davis has been the biggest influence in my professional football life. I mean, he was a guy that gave me an opportunity, one, to get into professional football in 1967 as an assistant coach, and then at the age of 32, giving me the opportunity to be the head coach. That was something that was very special. I mean, there weren't a lot of people that thought John Madden, the linebacker coach, is going to be the head coach of the Raiders. Al believed in me, then gave me the opportunity. During the time, the 10 years I was head coach, he gave me everything. I was never turned down for one thing that I ever wanted for football by Al Davis. Since I've been out, we're still friends. We still see each other all the time. I just had dinner with him last week on his birthday. He's just, you know, one of my best friends, one of my best friends in life. You know, if it weren't for Al, you don't know where you would have gone.

John Madden owes everything he is or has to the man whom former NFL lineman and now analyst Lomas Brown referred to as “The Godfather of the NFL.”  Madden was brought into the Raiders fold by Al Davis in 1967 as linebackers coach and after only two years named him head coach of the Oakland Raiders on February 4th, 1969. Madden was only 32 years old and was now in charge of Al Davis’ Modus Operandi (MO), “Just Win Baby.”

The “Commitment to Excellence” for Davis and the Raiders reached its zenith in the Bicentennial year of 1976 when the Oakland Raiders earned t...

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