John Madden on Jim Harbaugh: He’s done one of the greatest coaching jobs ever

Jim HarbaughJim Harbaugh is the first head coach in NFL history to reach a conference championship game in his first three seasons. He has led the San Francisco 49ers to an impressive 36-11-1 record over that three-year span, looking like an NFL coaching veteran along the way. As far as John Madden is concerned, Harbaugh is already one of the greats.

In an interview with Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury Times, Madden praised Harbaugh’s three-straight NFC Championship appearances and said the Niners coach shouldn’t change a thing.

“He’s doing a great job,” Madden said. “He’s done one of the great coaching jobs ever, especially with that first year and the (labor) lockout and how he couldn’t work with the players and they went all the way to the (NFC) Championship. Great coaching job.”

Madden’s Oakland Raiders lost in the AFC Championship game five times in his first seven seasons as head coach, so he knows plenty about coming up just short. Madden later went on to win a Super Bowl in 1976 and is now considered one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time. Has he offered to share some wisdom with Harbaugh?

“Hell no,” Madden said. “He’s done a lot of good things and won a lot of big games. The last thing he needs is counseling on that. The answer is you don’t do anything. People get close and try to do something. They panic and screw everything up.

“Sometimes you can be one of the best, but you don’t accept that if you don’t get the ring or win the Super Bowl. There’s a lot of good teams between the Super Bowl winner and other teams. Once the Super Bowl is over, we lump everyone into the other 31, and that’s not fair.”

Like players, coaches are ultimately judged on their hardware. But even without a Super Bowl ring, it would be tough to argue that Harbaugh isn’t one of the better coaches in the league. The Niners will likely have to pay him like a Super Bowl-winning coach in the near future whether he wins one of not.

John Madden: Niners should choose Jim Harbaugh over ‘suit’ Trent Baalke

Jim-Harbaugh-Blue-Collar-49ers-ShirtsWith Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers’ front office experiencing some tension as of late, some are wondering if Harbaugh’s days with the Niners could be numbered. The head coach is reportedly “barely speaking” to general manager Trent Baalke, and there has been some talk of the team potentially having to choose between the two.

If you ask John Madden, that choice would be easy.

“Jim Harbaugh has done a great job of coaching in the NFL no matter how you put it,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew earlier this week. “Getting to three championship games in a row with that group or with any group is a heck of a thing that he’s done. You tell me where they’re going to get a guy that’s any better than him? It’s a lot easier to get a suit than it is to get a coach.”

Personally, I agree with Madden. Baalke has a challenging job when it comes to assembling a team and operating within the constraints of the salary cap, but Harbaugh has had an instant impact since coming into the NFL. Finding a head coach who can win consistently is a very difficult task.

Harbaugh’s current contract with the Niners expires after the 2015 season. He probably would have had a new contract by now if not for bickering behind closed doors. The team would be wise to work it out and extend him, otherwise some other NFL team will be getting a rare commodity.

H/T Pro Football Talk

John Madden says Richard Sherman’s actions were ‘embarrassing,’ bad example for kids

Richard-Sherman-interviewHere we are three days after the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl, and we’re still discussing Richard Sherman. Since Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL, we should be discussing him. Some, like John Madden, just wish we weren’t discussing his postgame antics.

Madden discussed Sherman on SiruisXM NFL Radio Wednesday, calling his postgame trash talk “embarrassing.”

“I think it’s too much,” Madden said, via Pro Football Talk. “To me, it was kind of embarrassing. … Kids are watching this, and kids copy the players. I have grandkids and I know what they do because I see them. If a player is wearing a certain color gloves, they have to have that color gloves. A player two weeks ago wore red shoes, I had a grandson came to the game and he had to wear red shoes. The jerseys — they wear the jerseys and they copy everything those guys do.

“And to be a great one, they don’t know which things they should copy, and they think that’s how they have to play. I think if any apologies ought to be made, it ought to be to the kids. That’s not the way we do it. … I thought it was embarrassing.”

Sherman went to Stanford and chose to pursue his education there because it is such a respected academic university. He became the best cornerback in the NFL by being a film nut and student of the game. He is a very intelligent 25-year-old man, but some felt as though his verbal assault on Michael Crabtree took away from what the Seahawks accomplished as a team. Madden touched on that as well.

“He took away a lot from the other players on his team,” he said. “Guys played their butts off, guys coached their butts off, and pass rushed and tackled and special teams, and then it got to be all about one guy. In a team sport, that’s wrong,”

I don’t think that’s what Sherman intended, but it was certainly a consequence. He has earned the right to talk trash because he backs it up. I’d just call it poor timing.

RelatedRichard Sherman goes off in hilarious interview with Ed Werder (Video)
RelatedRichard Sherman goes on epic postgame rant with Erin Andrews (Video)
RelatedMichael Crabtree fires back at Richard Sherman on Twitter

John Madden rips Dez Bryant for leaving field early

Dez BryantDallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant walked off the field during his team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday when there was still 1:21 remaining in the game. The Cowboys had blown a 36-24 lead with roughly eight minutes left, and Tony Romo had just tossed interceptions on back-to-back possessions. Somehow, all of Bryant’s teammates managed to stick around until the clock hit 0:00.

On Wednesday, NFL coaching legend John Madden was asked about Bryant’s antics. When asked what he would have said to Bryant if he was Jason Garrett, Madden said he would have told the star receiver, “Get your butt back here.”

“There’s no excuse for it,” Madden told Rich Gannon and Adam Schein on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via the Dallas Morning News. “Because he’s such a good player, we’re all going to make excuses for him. What he did was wrong.

“There are some things that you let go, and then when things go poorly, you can’t pull them back. Dez Bryant has been in and out of the doghouse and I don’t know if they ever got him straight. They were a little lax on him when he first came in as a rookie. Maybe they let him do things they shouldn’t have, things that they have to live with now.”

It’s hard to disagree with Madden. Bryant tried to explain his early departure by claiming he did not want people to see him cry, but that is a bogus excuse. He needs to stop acting like a drama queen — no matter how “positive” his emotions are when he erupts on the sideline. Part of being a professional athlete is learning to control your emotions, not use them as an excuse.

H/T Pro Football Talk

John Madden does not believe in the Madden cover curse

Whether you believe in curses or not, you have to admit it is strangely coincidental how so many athletes who have appeared on the cover of EA Sports’ “Madden” video game have gotten injured over the years. After an off year in 2011, Peyton Hillis had no choice but to become a believer. Drew Brees may not have missed any actual time, but there were rumors that he played through a couple of significant knee injuries the year he was on the cover of the game.

Unsurprisingly, John Madden himself does not believe in the curse. And if it does exist, he says he is confident Calvin Johnson can put an end to it this season.

“I was on the cover for several years, and I never once even pulled a hamstring,” Madden said while laughing according to the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a violent sport. Injuries are going to happen.

“If there was such a thing (as a curse), you couldn’t ask for a better man to prove that wrong than who we’ve got this year. He might be as close to indestructible as we’ve ever had on the cover. Maybe I shouldn’t say that…that might…I’m not going to talk about that any more.”

Fortunately for Madden, Nate Burleson already said something similar about Megatron a few months back. If you believe in curses and you’re a Johnson fan, you probably aren’t feeling great about him being on the cover of the video game and Burleson and Madden both challenging the curse gods. If Megatron can put together a healthy season given all the things people have said about his presence on the cover, I think it’s safe to say the curse doesn’t exist.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Tom Jackson to John Madden: ‘Take that, Fat Man!’

I’m just finishing up John Madden’s book One knee equals two feet and I came across a story that was pretty humorous. Keep in mind this book was written in 1986 so the story is much funnier now that both became big time analysts. Madden was talking about certain opponents when he got to this part regarding All-Pro linebacker Tom Jackson of the Broncos:

“Tommy Jackson of the Broncos wasn’t very big, but he was a quick linebacker before there were quick linebackers. And he was the wildest linebacker I’ve ever seen. You never knew where he was going to turn up. He was tough, but not disciplined, which made him that much harder to figure out. Against a disciplined linebacker, you knew that if you did this, he would do that. But with Jackson, you had no idea. One time he might run in there, the next time he’d run out there. And for some reason he didn’t like me.

“Take that, fat man,” he would yell.

He was the only player who ever yelled at me like that. Of course, he usually yelled when the Broncos were winning, especially when they were winning in Denver.

In Oakland, he never yelled much.”

I’d love to ask Tom Jackson about that story now to see what he says. Who knows if it was just an intra-divisional competition thing or a personal thing. I’m guessing it’s the former considering division rivalries still exist and I’m also figuring Madden is including the PG version of the story. By the way, if you really miss Madden’s analysis since he’s retired, One Knee Equals Two Feet is a fun read. Despite being almost 25-years-old, it’s not out-dated but rather a good history lesson (or refresher if you enjoyed that era of football).