Ted Marchibroda, former head coach of the Baltimore Colts and the first head coach in Baltimore Ravens history, passed away peacefully Saturday morning at his home in Virginia. He was 84.
Marchibroda spent 12 seasons as an NFL head coach, including time with the Baltimore Colts (1975-79), Indianapolis Colts (1992-95) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-98). He compiled an 87-98-1 regular season record as a head coach, adding a 2-4 mark in postseason play. Marchibroda and Hall of Famer Don Shula are tied with the second-most total victories (73) in Colts franchise history (Tony Dungy – 92).
With the Baltimore Colts, Marchibroda guided his club to three-straight playoff appearances and division titles (1975-77), posting a career-best 11-3 record during the 1976 campaign. Leading Indianapolis to one postseason berth in 1995, the Colts advanced to the AFC Championship game before falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that contest, Indianapolis came within one dropped "Hail Mary" touchdown pass of advancing to the Super Bowl. Marchibroda's Ravens were 4-12 in their inaugural 1996 season. In eight of the final 10 games that year, the team lost after leading in the third quarter. Producing a 6-9-1 record in 1997, Baltimore fought valiantly while playing with one of the NFL's youngest rosters. That year, the Ravens dropped six games by a total of 15 points. In 1998, Baltimore went 6-10, with seven of those games decided by seven points or fewer.
Marchibroda also played professional football as a quarterback for Pittsburgh (1953, 1955-56) and the Chicago Cardinals (1957). A first-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1953, he was selected fifth overall out of the University of Detroit. Marchibroda originally began his collegiate career at St. Bonaventure College from 1950-51, but after the football program was dropped, he transferred to Detroit. It was there that he led the nation in total offense in 1952. Following his rookie season with Pittsburgh, he served in the U.S. Army for one year (1954) and then returned to play football in 1955.
Born March 15, 1931 in Franklin, Pa., Marchibroda attended Franklin High School, where he was an All-State selection in both football and basketball. He was also a baseball standout.
Throughout his life, Marchibroda actively participated in community projects, many of which were involved with the Catholic Diocese.
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.
Below are quotes that were gathered Saturday afternoon following the passing of Ted Marchibroda:
"Ted is a founding father of the Ravens. 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 Ann (his wife) and the Marchibroda family."
"Ted Marchibroda was an excellent coach; success followed him wherever he coached. 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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Ted was a truly awesome individual. 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. He really cared for everyone he dealt with on and off the field. He will be missed."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Ted Marchibroda's Pro Coaching Background
Washington Redskins (1961-65 – backfield coach)
Los Angeles Rams (1966-70 – backfield coach)
Washington Redskins (1971-74 – offensive coordinator)
Baltimore Colts (1975-79 – head coach)
Chicago Bears (1981 – quarterbacks coach)
Detroit Lions (1982-83 – offensive coordinator)
Philadelphia Eagles (1984-85 – offensive coordinator)
Buffalo Bills (1987-91 – offensive coordinator)
Indianapolis Colts (1992-95 – head coach)
Baltimore Ravens (1996-98 – head coach)
The Marchibroda family has confirmed that Ted died of natural causes.
Below are several more quotes from Baltimore Colts players:
"Ted was a tremendous individual, a great offensive mind, and someone whom all of his players dearly loved."
"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."
"Ted challenged me and made me a better player. I* *played harder because of his coaching. The man was a good coach."