John Madden was a head coach for just one team -- the Oakland Raiders. He was the best coach in franchise history, with a 103-32 record over 10 seasons leading the Silver and Black.
He’s a legend who brought glory to the East Bay, where he coached home games throughout his career. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was his battle ground, where he rarely lost in his head-coaching career.
Seeing the Raiders leave Oakland for good won’t be an easy thing. The Raiders will play one season at least, possibly two or three, in the old venue before heading to a new home in Las Vegas.
Madden sees it as the end of a great era and a strong bond between team and community.
“It really gets you because of the finality of it,” Madden said Wednesday night in an interview on SiriusXM NFL radio, with quotes from the station’s website. “When they moved before (to Los Angeles), that was after I got out and I was in broadcasting and I wasn’t that much of a part of it, but we had a stadium in Oakland that was relevant. And so, ‘Okay, Oakland may lose the Raiders, but we’ll get another team,’ because that was the way it was working back then.
“And with the stadium now, when they move out, that’s going to be torn down and it’s going to be a high-rise or some doggone thing and there’ll be no more Oakland Raiders, there’ll be no more history of the Oakland Raiders. That really bothers me.”
Despite signs pointing toward the Raiders gaining approval to relocate heading into the late March NFL owners meetings, Madden said he was surprised by the ease of approval.
“I didn’t think that that would happen and when they got a vote of 31-1, I was really shocked and I was surprised not only that it happened,” Madden said, “but how quickly that it happened.”
He also fears for teams visiting to play the Raiders, with the abundant nightlife scene that never truly sleeps.
“I would hate to be a coach to take a team in there,” Madden said. “I would hate to have my team be in Las Vegas on Saturday night before the game. And that’s any team. You say, ‘Well, you had a bunch of rowdies,’ but every team has a bottom 10. You can say, ‘Oh, we got a good group, it’s a great group, we’re together,’ and all this stuff. Say you have 55 guys. Forty-five of them can be perfect, but you’ve got that bottom 10. And you have to be as good as your last guy. If this thing goes through, I think there’s going to be a lot of problems like that.”