John Madden
John Madden
Once a Raider, always a Raider
By John Madden

The Oakland Raiders are playing in Super Bowl XXXVII this Sunday in San Diego (ABC, pregame show, 2 p.m. ET; game, 6 p.m. ET), and that's an organization that I coached in for many years. I was an assistant coach there for two seasons, before becoming the team's head coach in 1969. I then spent 10 seasons in that role, and I have a lot of great memories from coaching the Raiders.

Having them in this game does mean something to me personally. I was a head coach in the National Football League for 10 years with one team, the Oakland Raiders. So, that's my background and that's my DNA.

You can't take that away and you can't change that. That's what you are and that's where you came from. Now, having said that, I've done more Buccaneers games than Oakland games. I know the Tampa Bay players better than I know the Raiders' players.

As far as affecting a broadcast or a telecast or what I think during the game, it's not going to matter that I coached Oakland. But as far as saying, "Is that your family?" Well, yeah, it's your family. I know the people that work there and I've known some of them for a long time. But I know people with the Bucs, too.

This is the Raiders' first trip to this game in 19 years. My first season as an assistant coach in Oakland, we played in Super Bowl II against Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers. As head coach, we went back almost 10 years later and we beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. I realized then that it's a tough thing to get back to this game.

The Raiders have won two other Super Bowls since I retired, and they're back for this one. And it's kind of neat to see them back in this game. They had a heckuva season and they deserve to be here. And so does Tampa Bay.

The Bucs would get close, but they couldn't get over the hump of the NFC championship game. But they brought in Jon Gruden to be their head coach, and he was able to get them over that hump. He also coached Oakland last season, so that's something that will be talked about a lot this week.
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