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  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Friday, 04 December, 2020

It's About Time

Date: 15 August, 2006

By: Chief

Imagen fact it is long overdue.

John Madden, former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, television sports commentator and star of video games galore has finally been inducted into professional football's Hall of Fame.

Madden became head coach of the Raiders in 1969 at the ripe old age of 32, making him the youngest head coach of the American Football League (AFL). He stayed with the Raiders for 10 seasons and then retired from coaching and went on to become one of the most widely known, if not the most widely known, T.V. sports commentators of all time.

Taking a quick look at just some of his Raider statistics:

You've got to admit it, those are some kind of stats.

It was not just his coaching abilities that got him superb statistics and a Super Bowl ring. It was also his ability to pick the best up-and-coming players from the draft. Further having a tremendous coaching staff did not hurt in the least. Being able to work well with Al Davis, the owner of the team, was nothing but pluses. Lastly, I really believe that Madden and the players really, and I do mean really, appreciated the Raider fans as much as the fans appreciated them. It makes a world of difference when you have the entire town behind you as the Raiders did.

Speaking of Al Davis, what did he have to say about Coach Madden's selection to the Hall of Fame? Through a spokesman:

"John Madden's nomination is monumental and should have been done a long time ago. Mr. Davis has long supported and championed Madden's inclusion and felt that John has been shortchanged by not being a candidate up to this point" (quote from AP).

I fully agree.

Coach Madden retired from football after the 1978 season. Yet why did it take the 39 member Hall of Fame Board of Selectors committee 28 years to elect John Madden into the hallowed football Hall of Fame?

Honestly, I cannot think of any good or rational reason. None whatsoever. It is not like a coach has to wait for so many years after retiring like players do (players must be retired for a minimum of five years before they can be considered for the Hall of Fame). Indeed, according to the Hall of Fame rules:

"For a non-player, there is no mandatory retirement period, but a coach must be retired before he may be considered. Every nomination received will be processed and forwarded to the Board of Selectors."

As you can tell there was absolutely no rational reason for such an inordinate delay.

The Board of Selectors is made up of football sports media people with the vast majority being sports writers. Quoting the Hall of Fame rules:

"The Board consists of one media representative from each pro football city with two from New York, inasmuch as that city has two teams in the National Football League. A 33rd member is a representative of the Pro Football Writers of America and there are six at-large delegates.

"With the exception of the PFWA representative who is appointed for a two-year term, all appointments are of the open-end variety and can be terminated only by retirement or resignation, as long as the member continues to attend meetings regularly."

What else is quite entertaining in a not so good kind of way is the fact that while the Raiders do have some people enshrined in the Hall of Fame, 13 as a matter of fact, a great many of the players from the Madden era have not made the cut. That is just not only wrong, it is a crime of extraordinary proportions. Further it is a crime which needs to be rectified and soon (tomorrow would not be soon enough).

Had it not been for the outstanding players that Davis and Madden were able to draft, head coach John Madden just might not have the tremendous record that he does have. Players like:

And last, but in no way least:

None of those guys on that list have been elected into the Hall of Fame. And each one of them has earned it — in spades. If we can just get them inducted into the Hall of Fame all will be right and correct in the world.

I could add more silver and black names to the list but I think you get my drift. The Madden era Raiders originated the 'shock and awe' style of play that many teams have attempted to copy but none have ever duplicated. And instead of honoring them, the Board of Selectors have basically shut them out.

When you sit down and think about it other teams feared the Raiders under the leadership of Coach Madden. And well they should have. These guys played together for years (no free agent system in those days). They knew how each other thought and acted. The Madden era Raiders were the essence of the word — team. And the results speak for themselves.

There is no doubt that without good players a good coach is up a creek. On the other hand there are some coaches who could take great people and turn out a miserable and losing team. But not John Madden. Madden could and did mold those great individuals into a great, winning team. To the absolute envy and dismay of the entire National Football League.

John Madden has finally reaped what he had sown so many, many years ago.

Congratulations coach — you have earned it.

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