1. John Madden (1969-1978)
John Madden is not just one of the best coaches in Raiders history, he is one of the best coaches in the history of the NFL. In 10 years as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Madden did not have a single losing season and the closest he came to that “dishonor” was a 9-7 finish in his final season in 1978.
Madden was the man that helped the Raiders navigate the NFL-AFL merger and he did so with aplomb, leading them to a 8-4-2 record in their first season in the new league. The Raiders and their record would steadily improve and they quickly became one of the powerhouse teams of the 1970s. The Pittsburgh Steelers are known as the team of the 1970’s but the Raiders were not far behind, facing them 5 times from ’72-’76 and going 2-3 against the Steel Curtain.
Before his Super Bowl triumph in 1976, Madden and the Raiders had a habit of falling just short of true glory as they lost the AFL title in 1969 and the AFC Championship game in ’70, ’73, ’74, and ’75. Even after the smashing of the Vikings in ’76, Madden and the Raiders lost the AFC Championship game in ’77 to the hated Broncos.
Madden made a remarkable seven trips to the AFC/AFL championship game and it is a shame that he and the Raiders couldn’t get over the hump more than once but it is still a testament to his and the team’s greatness that they were always in the mix. Madden’s name still rings to this day thanks to his incredibly popular video game but to Raider Nation he will always be the great Coach Madden.