The day after Ted Marchibroda’s coaching career ended, he was in his office at the old Ravens headquarters in Owings Mills. After most coaches are fired, they walk away quietly. Marchibroda not only didn’t walk away, he wanted to talk to the press—individually.
In the interests of time, he was dissuaded from that and held a genial mass interview, his final one.
Marchibroda, who died on Saturday at 84, held a unique place in Baltimore sports history. He was the only man to coach the Colts and Ravens.
In fact, he coached the Colts twice, in Baltimore and in Indianapolis, and after his run in Indy ended, he replaced Bill Belichick, who was the final coach of the Cleveland Browns, as the Ravens first coach two decades ago.
Marchibroda bravely coached the undermanned Ravens in their first three seasons. It was understood that the team was in the rebuilding mode, and eager for another NFL run, Marchibroda took on the task.
The Ravens were just 16-31-1 from 1996-98, but he had some fun offenses to watch, especially in his first two years when Vinny Testaverde was his quarterback. Jim Harbaugh was his quarterback in his final year as he been for a few years in Indianapolis.
Marchibroda had notable associations with great quarterbacks. He also coached Bert Jones during his first stint in Baltimore when the Colts made the playoffs three straight years. As offensive coordinator in Buffalo, Marchibroda directed the potent offenses of Jim Kelly and the Bills made it to the first two of an unprecedented four straight Super Bowls.
After that last game in Baltimore, which was coincidentally Barry Sanders’ final one, too, Marchibroda worked as a color commentator for the Colts as he watched another great quarterback, Peyton Manning.
Marchibroda was a fine coach and a very nice man.