Davis recalls Madden's great days as Raiders coach
• Troy Aikman, QB, 1989-00 Cowboys
• Harry Carson, LB, 1976-88 Giants
• L.C. Greenwood, DE, 1969-81 Steelers
• Russ Grimm, G, 1981-91 Redskins
• Claude Humphrey, DE, 1968-74, 1976-78 Falcons, 1979-1981 Eagles
• Michael Irvin, WR, 1988-99 Cowboys
• Bob Kuechenberg, G, 1970-84 Dolphins
• x-John Madden, coach, 1969-78 Raiders
• Art Monk, WR, 1980-1993 Redskins, 1994 Jets, 1995 Eagles
• Warren Moon, QB, 1984-93 Oilers, 1994-96 Vikings, 1997-98 Seahawks, 1999-2000 Chiefs
• Derrick Thomas, LB, 1989-99 Chiefs
• Thurman Thomas, RB, 1988-99 Bills, 2000 Dolphins
• Reggie White, DE/DT, 1985-92 Eagles, 1993-98 Packers, 2000 Panthers
• x-Rayfield Wright, T, 1967-79 Dallas Cowboys
• Gary Zimmerman, T, 1986-92 Vikings, 1993-97 Broncos
The Raiders won, all right. Madden compiled a 103-32-7 record and a 9-7 mark in the playoffs from 1969-78.
Now, the 76-year-old Oakland owner wants to do all he can to help Madden finally join the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"John Madden takes his place in the sun we hope this week," Davis said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Thursday. "One of his great virtues, the fire that burned brightest in him, was his love for football and his passion for it. His passion for it is seldom ever equaled."
This will be an emotional week for Madden, who along with Al Michaels will call the final NFL game by ABC in Sunday's Super Bowl in Detroit pairing the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.
On Saturday, Madden, who is moving to NBC for Sunday night games next season, will be up for a spot in the Hall of Fame. The longtime analyst has been eligible for the Hall for 27 years.
"We've all gone through it. This is part of our lives, what we live for," Davis said. "He's shooting for it. This is what he wants. ... I think someday the epitaph that shall be his will read: He was a football coach, he was a brilliant football coach. It's about time everyone raised their hand and saluted to John 'Great job."'
Davis, who came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the Raiders, promoted Madden to head coach in 1969 after two seasons as an assistant guiding the linebackers. In his first season, Madden led the Raiders to a 12-1-1 finish and the AFL West title on the way to AFL coach of the year honors.
During Madden's tenure, the Raiders never had a losing record, won seven division titles and advanced to the playoffs eight times. They beat the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 to win the Super Bowl after going 13-1 as AFC West champions in 1976, defeating New England and Pittsburgh in the playoffs along the way.
"He not only competed against the greatest coaches, he played in the greatest games -- Heidi Bowl, Immaculate Reception, Holy Roller, Sea of Hands," Davis said. "He won the Super Bowl in '76, was in great games in '75 and '74. The Raiders were the pinnacle of pro football and portrayed a way of playing."
For Davis, the memories from Madden's years are still vivid, and this is a special week for a franchise trying to get back to that high level. The Raiders are in the middle of a search for a new head coach after Norv Turner was fired Jan. 3 following two losing seasons in which Oakland only earned one victory against the AFC West.
"John's influence, even though it only carried over first approximately 10 years, carries on and carries on to this day," Davis said. "It's time he took his rightful place in the Hall of Fame and he certainly brings an excellence to it that no one can deny. ...
"At the end, he got his break with the networks and he's done great with that. He's done great with everything he's touched."
While Davis is a big supporter of Madden's bid, others connected to the Silver and Black aren't so sure he's deserving.
"I spent a long time in Raiderland," former Raiders receiver Tim Brown said on Fox Sports Net earlier this week. "And when you talk to the old guys who played under Madden, they say, 'Look, if not for this guy, maybe we win three or four Super Bowls.' They actually think that he may have hindered them."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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