On Saturday, January 16, 2016, the NFL lost a major figure from the league’s family. Ted Marchibroda, who may be known for his years with the Indianapolis Colts, has died at the age of 84. Marchibroda played college football and also for the professional league, but spent 37 years coaching. Soon after he stopped coaching, he spent seven years as a broadcasting analyst for the Indianapolis Colts.
Marchibroda was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania on March 15, 1931. He eventually went on to playing college football at Saint Bonaventure University, while also spending a few years playing at the University of Detroit. During his college career, he led the nation with 1,819 passing yards as a quarterback during his 1952 season. That next year, he became a first-round draft pick by the Pittsburg Steelers. He was picked 5th overall by his hometown team. After just one year with the Steelers, Marchibroda served for the U.S. Army. In 1955 and after his discharge, he returned to play for the Steelers until 1956. The following year, he continued his professional career and played for the Chicago Cardinals.
Marchibroda decided to put his playing years behind him and began coaching for the NFL. He spent the majority of his life coaching for various NFL teams prior to his broadcasting position. While Ted Marchibroda may have died, he spent 60 years out of his 84 years of living completely devoted to football whether if it was coaching or playing for a team himself. His first coaching job was for the Washington Redskins (1961-1965) as the assistant coach. He also spent four years with the Los Angeles Rams (1966-1970). He then went back to Washington and spent three years as the offensive coordinator for the Redskins (1971-1974). From 1975-1979, he also took a head coach position for the Baltimore Colts. During his time with the Colts, he coached the team to three NFL division championships. However, the Colts had lost all three of those games.
From 1981 until 1985, he spent time with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and the Philadelphia Eagles as the offensive coordinator until 1985. From 1987 to 1991, Marchibroda then spent his career with the Buffalo Bills as both the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. He created a no-huddle offense that eventually brought him and Bills much success, as this also revolutionized the game of football. The new no-huddle or also known as the hurry-up offense simply meant that the offense would hurry to the line of scrimmage and then the quarterback would call plays from the line. This also prevented any substitutions from being made, though the NFL eventually created a rule that allowed the defense to make substitutions only if the offense did simultaneously. This offense is now a common strategy in today’s game of football. With the help of this new way of offense, he led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls.
He also was the head coach for both the Indianapolis Colts (1992-1995) and the Baltimore Ravens (1996-1998). After being let go by the Colts, the Ravens brought him back to Baltimore. After a relocation controversy of the Colts moving to Indianapolis in 1984, the NFL kept a team in Baltimore but renamed them to the Ravens.
Ted Marchibroda died in Weems, Virginia and at the age of 84, he left behind his wife, two sons, two daughters, and also six grandchildren. Marchibroda not only brought the no-huddle offense to the NFL, but he also contributed by bringing in Bill Belichick. Belichick, who may arguably be today’s best and most recognized NFL head coach. The current head coach of the New England Patriots worked under Marchibroda as a special assistant, which was his debut in the NFL. He also introduced Baltimore’s well-known mantra, which is “Play like a Raven.”
By Tricia Manalansan
New York Times: Ted Marchibroda, Who Led Colts and Ravens, Dies at 84
Baltimore Sun: From Belichick to the no-huddle offense, Ted Marchibroda gave the NFL so much
Indianapolis Star: Former Colts coach Ted Marchibroda dies
Image Courtesy of Josh Hallett’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License