Before John Madden was a Hall of Fame coach or broadcaster he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958.
The NFL is in offseason mode right now with the draft right around the corner, as everyone is trying to find the next superstar to boost their team to the Super Bowl.
Back in 1958 during the draft, Madden was selected by the Eagles in the 21st round, and as he stated in Peter Richmond’s book Game of Life: Hall of Fame Biography of John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach thought he would play the game he loved for 15 years.
Even though Madden was drafted as an offensive lineman for the Eagles, he never saw a single snap in a regular-season game after suffering a knee injury in his first training camp with the team, which ultimately ended his career.
Madden found his coaching career path through Norm Van Brocklin
In Richmond’s book, Madden describes how he was in the process of rehabbing his knee, and how one day in the locker room Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin invited him over to the projector where he was breaking down plays.
"” And I’m watching and seeing how he’s thinking and you get ready to attack the defense. That’s where I learned pro football. Seeing from Norm Van Brocklin what it takes to prepare for a game.”"
The former Eagles draftee graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education and Madden actually said in the book how he felt like he earned a doctorate in football watching Van Brocklin breaking down the game.
Madden also loved to teach and with the knowledge that Van Brocklin provided, he felt like coaching was always meant to be his destiny.
Fast forward to 1969, as Madden would be named the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders when they were playing in Oakland, in which he would end up having a career record of 112–39–7 along with a Super Bowl XI victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
It’s crazy to think how Madden never had a losing season as head coach of the Raiders, and while his time with the Eagles was brief, the time spent in Philadelphia will always be credited for helping in his path to coaching.