ESPN is compiling a list of their top 20 best NFL coaches of all time. Coming in at number 12 is Raiders legendary coach, John Madden. Here is what ESPN's Shawna Steed had to say about Madden's coaching career:
Before he was famous as the face of a successful video game franchise, and before he was famous as a TV analyst and pitchman, Madden was famous as a coach.
In 10 seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Madden never had a losing record and won 17 straight games at one point. His teams won seven division titles, including five in a row, and one Super Bowl. They made eight playoff trips and got at least as far as the conference championship game seven times. He compiled a regular-season career winning percentage of .763, best in NFL history among coaches with at least 100 games. Only George Halas and Curly Lambeau reached 100 career wins at a younger age than Madden.
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The article is accompanied by a video which features Al Davis, Phil Villapiano, and Dennis Allen among others.
Raiders legendary defensive back, George Atkinson, added a few words about Madden as well.
"John was a players' coach. He demanded excellence from us. Our practices were basically harder than the games we played. He demanded perfection. He demanded that you be in shape. He demanded that you knew exactly what you were doing. He prepared us, and that's what coaches do. He prepared us by putting us in position to make plays.
"And he did a great job of managing the guys. We had some characters. For him to manage us and keep us engrossed in playing football and winning, that was in and of itself a hell of a job. A lot of guys had been rejected from other teams. The NFL had basically given up on them, and Al Davis was smart enough to see something, and John was smart enough to understand what he had."
Being 12 on the list undoubtedly seems way too low to most Raiders fans. I can't say exactly where the Hall of Fame and Super Bowl winning coach deserves to land before seeing the 11 coaches they place ahead of him.
Here is how the rest of the list has shaken out so far:
20. Tony Dungy
19. Mike Shanahan
18. Sid Gillman
17. Marv Levy
16. Hank Stram
15. Bud Grant
14. Tom Coughlin
13. Jimmy Johnson
So from here, most people can field some pretty good guesses as to who will be placed ahead of Madden.