Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The life and career of Ted Marchibroda, a fine football man who passed away on Saturday at age 84 at his home in Virginia, intertwined several times and several ways with Baltimore football.

He became the coach of the old Baltimore Colts in 1975, turning around a team that had really hit bottom with a 2-12 record the year before.  The '75 Colts lost four of their first five games, but wound up the season 10-4, making the playoffs but losing to an obscure team from western Pennsylvania called the "Steelers" (sp?)

The Colts followed that with several more successful seasons, but when star quarterback Bert Jones was injured before the 1978 season, they fell back into mediocrity, and Marchibroda was fired in 1979.

As some might recall, the Colts moved to somewhere in Indiana in 1984 because their owner, Robt. Irsay, was, in his mother's words, a scoundrel.  Irsay is dead now, but he lived long enough to read that his mother, at age 84, said of him, "He's a devil on Earth, that one. He stole all our money and said goodbye."

You don't want to show up at the pearly gates with that on your record.

But the Colts hired Marchibroda again as head coach from 1992 - 1995, and when the Baltimore Ravens came to town in 1996, they had the brilliant idea of hiring him to be the coach to turn the team in the right direction.  Ted coached the Ravens for their first three seasons and is generally credited with building the foundation for the championships that have followed.
One thing I didn't hear from the tv sports people as they reported his death was the most interesting Marchibroda-Baltimore connection.  Ted was a quarterback in his playing days, highly rated after his college days at St Bonaventure and the U of Detroit.  In 1955, Marchibroda, fresh off a year serving in the US Army, was the third of three quarterbacks that Pittsburgh coach Walt Kiesling chose to keep on his roster.  The fourth quarterback in that training camp, the one who was released to make room for Ted, was a fellow who wound up playing sandlot football for $6 a game, which is about what Tom Brady earns today for each breath he gulps into his snoot. 

That fellow wound up hitchhiking home from the Steelers' training camp and was invited to try out for the Baltimore Colts the next year.  He did pretty well here. Everyone loved, and still does love, the late Johnny Unitas!

As Paul Harvey used to say...

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