John Madden had two careers in the NFL, and he was successful at both. His second act involved being one of the top TV broadcasters in football history, but before then he was one of the most legendary NFL coaches of all time.
Madden coached the Raiders through much of the ’70s, one of their most successful eras in franchise history. But success is usually measured by one thing: championships. So how many Super Bowl titles did the Raiders win under Madden’s leadership?
John Madden’s pre-NFL career
Madden played college football — both offense and defense — at Cal Poly. The Eagles chose him in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL Draft, but he suffered a knee injury during his first training camp with the team. This sadly ended Madden’s playing career before he ever competed professionally.
Two years later, in 1960, the Minnesota native began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Allan Hancock College. He became the school’s head coach in 1962, then left in 1964 to be the defensive coordinator at San Diego State. Madden held the position for three years — until the NFL came calling.
Madden’s success in the NFL
Madden first entered the NFL in 1967, serving as the Oakland Raiders‘ linebackers coach under head coach John Rauch. After two seasons in that role, Madden took over as the team’s head coach and served in that capacity until 1978.
During this 10-year period, he led the Raiders to a 103-32-7 record in 142 regular-season games. The team went to the playoffs eight times in his 10 seasons. And the Raiders made it to at least the conference championship seven times with Madden as their head coach.
Madden and his Raiders made just one Super Bowl appearance, though. They played the Vikings in Super Bowl XI and won by a score of 32-14. This concluded a 16-1 season for the Raiders, including the postseason. At 42 years old, Madden retired from coaching after the 1978 season when the Raiders failed to make the playoffs.
Madden’s prolific broadcasting career
Madden was pretty young when he retired from coaching, so he decided to begin his next career as a broadcaster. He began working for CBS in 1979, working lower-tier games for two seasons before being promoted to the network’s top team with Pat Summerall in 1981.
The pair remained at CBS until 1994, when Fox outbid the network for the rights to NFC games. Madden and Summerall then jumped to Fox to be their top broadcast crew, with Madden signing a contract that paid him an annual salary bigger than any NFL player’s at the time.
Fox lost money on its initial eight-year NFL contract and looked to cut costs, so Madden left the network after calling Super Bowl XXXVI. In 2002, he moved to ABC to work with Al Michaels on Monday Night Football, reportedly making $5 million per year.
When ABC lost the rights to Monday Night Football in 2006, Michaels and Madden jumped to NBC to work on the network’s new Sunday Night Football package, which it acquired from ESPN (which subsequently took over Monday Night Football). They worked together through NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009.
On April 16, 2009, Madden officially retired from broadcasting after three decades where he worked for all four broadcast networks. His lengthy broadcasting career is notable because he didn’t like to fly, so he took a bus from city to city throughout his career.
Madden cited travel fatigue as the reason for him not calling the Sunday Night Football game in Tampa on Oct. 19, 2008, which ended a 476-weekend streak of consecutive broadcast appearances.