An improbable new coaching personality strode into the spotlight Sunday, bidding for recognition after upstaging the Raiders in the most implausible of places, Oakland.
He is Robert Miller of the Denver Broncos, who suddenly have the longest winning streak in the National Football League (seven games), and are 5-0 atop the AFC West after ending the Raiders' string at 17 with a 307 victory.
About 8,000 fans greeted the return of the Broncos at the Denver airports, cheering for the team that has the ticket in pro football.
The Broncos already lead the NFL in season ticket sales with Mile High Stadium enlarged to accommodate 75,087.
Miller is "Mr. Quick Fix" to the Broncos. He walked into the dissension-torn organization after the players actively demanded the dismissal of coach John Ralston, despite an 8-6 season in 1976.
Miller got his head coaching opportunity at age 49, four years older than the late Vince Lombardi was when he took his first such post.
Miller had been paying his dues and living the nomadic life of an assistant since 1960. He previously served at Denver, St. Louis, Baltimore and New England before the Denver management finally recognized his qualifications.
The latter-day Denver players did not know what to make of this hardscrabble son of a coal miner from Macomb, Ill.
He is a "physical" coach . . . the middle-aged boss who will go to the mat with his employees - literally - if necessary, to get his technique across.
He took on Claudie Minor, described with mockery by a member of the Bronco staff as being well under 300 pounds, "the biggest player on the squad."
Miller came out of the tutorial session about blocking with a cut beside his eye.
"That's a problem," he said. "I'm and easy bleeder."
Miller was always getting "dinged," as he puts it, when he was offensive line coach at New England and went one-on-one with fellows such as John Hannah.
A streak of concern for morale surfaced during training camp when Miller delegated two of the top draft choicts to arrange a rookie night show, a custom in many pro football camps.
One of the youngsters gingerly suggested to the first-year head coach that he was a rookie of sorts himself and should participate in the show.
Miller knocked the spectating veterans off their folding chairs with a virtuoso "ragtime" preformance on the piano.
That side of the coach's image was not meant to convey the notion that he would be a chummy or a widely quoted character who would make players and fans forget Ralston's Dale Carnegie positiveness and predictions of titles.
The closest resemblance was in the training camp routine, which was not notable easier.
Miller, of course, does not mention Ralston, but he is well aware of how Ralston got into trouble and is almost studiously careful to be prosaic, using time-tested, fail-safe cliches.
Temporarily, at least, the fans love it.
The Broncos scored a touchdown Sunday from a fake field-goal formation, with holder Norris Weese, a former quarterback, throwing a 25-yard pass to Jim Turner, who had lined up as the kicker.
That was the insuranct on top of a 10-7 Bronco lead, and they were rubbing it in on the Super Bowl champions in front of their hometown fans.