Sunday, January 19
Reliving the past
By John Madden
I am in a familiar setting this week for the Super Bowl. The city of San Diego was my home for several years back in the mid-1960s, before I went to Oakland to coach there in 1967. And so, it's kind of neat being back here for Sunday's game (ABC, pre-game, 2 p.m. ET; game, 6 p.m. ET).
I had coached at Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria, Calif., and then I got the opportunity to come to San Diego State and coach with Don Coryell. That was a big move up for me, and it was a great opportunity for me to be able to work with someone like Don Coryell. We were undefeated my last year at SDSU, and that was something special for me.
At the same time that I was coaching in college, I got my introduction to professional coaching, because the Chargers were in San Diego, and our coaching staff was friends of their coaching staff. We used to do a lot together, and we would go to their training camp in the summer. Because of that, I learned so much from Sid Gillman, who was San Diego's head coach at the time. Chuck Noll was on Gillman's staff then, and he was one of my good friends at that time.
So, a lot of the things that were later to become a real strong part of my football foundation were established here in San Diego. And when I left there, my next job was with the Oakland Raiders. And so, I went from the place where I was living and kind of started, and was a great place to be, to Oakland. And by going there, I was going to a rival.
Then, when I was with the Raiders, we used to always come back and play the Chargers, and so I would be back every year for a game. When I was the head coach in Oakland, I coached against a lot of different guys with them. They were never really a good team when I was coaching against 'em.
Heck, we lost just one game when playing them at San Diego. That was in 1977 when Cliff Olander started at quarterback for them. He was a rookie from New Mexico State, and the Chargers beat us 12-7. That was one of the worst doggone games we ever played in my tenure with the Raiders. You just don't forget the losses, that's for sure.