The immeasurable football legacy of John Madden began with his stint as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. The team, which was located in Oakland at the time, made the playoffs eight times in 10 years and won Super Bowl XI, the franchise's first title.

Fred Biletnikoff, a Hall of Fame wide receiver who played for Madden, talked about his former coach to Levi Edwards of He explained what made Madden, who was the team's linebackers coach before becoming their head coach, such a special coach and person.

“It was an easy transition for us to have John as our head coach,” Biletnikoff told “I don't believe there was anyone who didn't like John. Everyone was very enthusiastic when he took over and the way he approached us – as players, number one, and then as a team, number two – was just unbelievable.”

“One thing about John – John had a lot of respect for his players. And he was our biggest fan,” the former receiver said. “Everybody on the team, John wanted to see them do great things. He was always encouraging us to be great. We just followed his lead, followed his personality.”

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Biletnikoff played under Madden for the whole decade he was the Raiders' head coach. He said that his immense passion for the game made him a natural for his second careers as a TV commentator and video game icon.

“Thousands of guys would've loved to be on that practice field, in those meeting rooms, in that locker room before a game and being able to be around him. Seeing how easy it was to be around him and how easy it was for you to call him coach.”

The Raiders' statement about Madden's death underscores Biletnikoff's sentiments.