John Madden was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders back when the Raiders were a mean, tough (some would say ‘dirty’) team; it was a time when Denver fans began hating to love the man.

John Madden has passed away at the age of 85, he was a player, a coach, and commentator for the NFL. He personified ‘football’ for the nation. He brought unparalleled knowledge of the game, humor and fun to all that he did.

Growing up in Loveland in the 70s and 80s, we loved watching the Broncos, especially the Raiders games. Everybody hated the Raiders.

Mom would scream at the TV:

It’s that John Madden! Look at him out there, with his cigar, yelling at everyone, calm down, John! I can’t stand that man!

I can’t say that Mom ever really came around to ‘loving’ John Madden like a lot of us did; she was good at holding grudges. I also can’t say what exactly that she didn’t like about him, it’s just that he was coach of ‘those damned Raiders,’ and she couldn’t let it go.

There was that great game where Denver took down Oakland in the AFC Championship in 1978. Madden and his crew went home, Denver went on to the Super Bowl. Sure, Denver lost to Dallas, but at least Madden and the Raiders sat at home.

Then John became a broadcaster. A broadcaster who would not fly, no matter where he had to go. He always had to have a bus to take him to games. That made him human. He was great up there in that booth. I miss those days.

I heard that Joe Montana was offered the football video game we know as ‘Madden,’ but had a conflict so he had to turn it down. I wonder how that would have changed the legacy of Madden, taking the game away. One thing's for sure, the so-called curse would be called the 'Montana' curse.

He was a Denver foe, but you just wanted to hang out with him for one game.

Rest in peace, John.

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