Ted Marchibroda, the first head coach in Baltimore Ravens history, died peacefully Saturday morning at his home in Virginia. He was 84 years old.
The Ravens hired Marchibroda in 1996 when the team moved from Cleveland, and he was an instrumental figure in establishing the new franchise during the early years in Baltimore. He coached the Ravens from 1996-1998.
"Ted is a founding father of the Ravens,” Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “He was a tremendous competitor and a tough man with a gentle soul. In a way, he set the Ravens’ path. He wanted players who owned what he called ‘a football temperament.’ Those are players who love all aspects of the game – the mental part, lifting weights, practice and the physicality. That eventually became what we now call 'Playing Like a Raven.' Ted taught me more about football. He was classy in every way. Our prayers and thoughts are with [his wife] Ann and the Marchibroda family."
Marchibroda was a household name when the Ravens hired him, as he had also been the head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1975-1979. The Ravens hired Marchibroda 21 years and one month to the day he was first hired by the Colts.
Marchibroda coached some of the best players in franchise history like Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Matt Stover and others.
“Ted was a truly awesome individual,” Lewis said. “From the moment I walked into Baltimore in 1996, he wanted to make us better men before anything else; football was the backstory. He was tough on us, and once you figured out why, you really started to respect him on every level. I had many talks with him. I am proud to say I accepted and still practice things he shared with me, one being: ‘Finish what you start, no matter the circumstances.’ Ted was a staple in my life. He will be missed, but never forgotten. I, along with many others, will help carry on his legacy.”
“Ted Marchibroda was a kind man and a great leader and coach,” Ogden said. “He really cared for everyone he dealt with on and off the field. He will be missed."
Marchibroda spent much of his life working in football, but his contributions went far beyond the game.
The graduate of Saint Bonaventure was a quarterback himself, and he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1953 NFL Draft. Marchibroda played a season for the Steelers before leaving to serve a year in the United States Army.
He would return to Pittsburgh and continue his career, and he ultimately went into the coaching profession once he retired. Marchibroda worked as an assistant for the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills. He was a head coach for the Baltimore Colts, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens’ job was the last time Marchibroda worked in the NFL.
“Ted Marchibroda was an excellent coach; success followed him wherever he coached,” former Ravens President David Modell said. “He was one of the most competitive men I've ever encountered. But mostly, Ted was a good man – spiritually intact, kind and full of grace. What an honor to have served with him even for so short a period of time.”
Ted is survived by his wife, Ann, their four children – two daughters, Jodi and Lonni, and two sons, Ted Jr. and Robert – and six grandchildren.
What others are saying about Marchibroda’s death:
OLB Peter Boulware (Played from 1997-2005)
“I am so sad to hear of the loss of coach Marchibroda. He was an incredible offensive mind, great coach and a true gentleman on and off the field. He will truly be missed.”
DE Rob Burnett (1996-2001)
“Ted Marchibroda was a true NFL ‘lifer.’ He had tremendous success both as a family man and as a true pioneer in our game. He inherited a tough move of a legendary franchise owned by the late, great Mr. [Art] Modell. He did the best he could under tough circumstances in an ever-evolving game. He made all of us true professionals who were better players and, most importantly, better men.”
RB Earnest Byner (1996-1997)
“Ted's ideals were proven over the long successful career he had in the NFL. He brought those with him when he became our first head coach with the Ravens. Thanks, Ted, for sharing your inner drive, caring heart and offensive genius.”
DT Tony Siragusa (1997-2001)
“He was like a father to me. He made me believe in myself and extended my career with his coaching. Clearly, he was more than a coach to me. He was a good, good person and a great man.”
QB Vinny Testaverde (1996-1997)
“Coach was a man who everyone liked and respected. He was an innovator of the game who made us better players and better men. He will be sorely missed.”
LB Stan White (Colts, 1972-1979)
“Ted took over the [Baltimore] Colts as a 2-12 team. He taught us to be pros. We started 1-4 [in 1975], and he told us we were too good to lose and that he was not going to let us lose. We won nine straight and the first of three-straight division championships [that year], supplanting the great Dolphins teams of the 70’s. He turned Bert Jones into the NFL MVP and me into a real NFL linebacker. We are forever indebted to Ted for making us better men and better players. He changed our destiny and our lives. And, he helped re-establish the NFL in Baltimore that rekindled our love of the NFL for us and our kids and now their kids. He rightfully has his place in Baltimore NFL history with [Don] Shula, [Weeb] Ewbank, [Brian] Billick and [John] Harbaugh as our Mt. Rushmore of coaches.”
QB Bert Jones (Colts, 1973-1981)
"Ted was a tremendous individual, a great offensive mind, and someone whom all of his players dearly loved."
RB Lydell Mitchell (Colts, 1972-1977)
"The guys like me who played for Ted here in Baltimore will always be tied together. Whenever we got together, we had a great time as teammates, and Ted was a big part of that. We will sorely miss him."
MLB Ed Simonini (Colts, 1976-1981)
"Ted challenged me and made me a better player. I played harder because of his coaching. The man was a good coach.”
WR Glenn Doughty (Colts, 1972-1979)
"I was fortunate to play for three Hall of Fame coaches: Will Robinson, Bo Schembechler, and in my mind, Ted Marchibroda. Ted let us be individuals fighting for one cause – a Super Bowl Championship. He allowed my Shake & Bake team spirit to help lead us to three-straight division titles and me to build the Shake & Bake Family a Fun Center in 1982. The center is now in its third decade serving the inner city families of Baltimore with wholesome roller skating and bowling. Make no MISTAKE, Ted knew how to Shake & Bake."
OT George Kunz (Colts, 1975-1980)
"This is a big loss. There aren't too many people like Ted Marchibroda. I never played for a nicer guy who was also a great coach. Not only did you want to play for him, but you also loved playing for him. You didn't want to let him down."