Ted Marchibroda died at his home in Virginia at the age of 84. (Associated Press Photo)

The football world received some sad news ahead of Saturday’s AFC Divisional playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Ted Marchibroda, who spent 12 years coaching in the NFL, died at age 84 at his home in Virginia, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Known as one of the league’s most innovative offensive minds, Marchibroda is credited as a forefather of fast-paced, passing strategies preferred by most teams today. He brought this strategy first to the Baltimore Colts from 1975 to 1979 and again later after the franchise moved to Indianapolis from 1992 to 1995. Marchibroda also spent three seasons coaching the Baltimore Ravens.

“We are extremely saddened and mourn the loss of Ted Marchibroda,” Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a statement posted to the team’s website on Saturday. “He had a proud history not just with the Colts, but also as a player, coach and broadcaster for over half a century with the NFL. Ted was an innovator and turned the Colts into an instant playoff team when he took his first head coaching role in 1975. Ted was as humble as they come, and he represented the Colts and our community with class both off the field and on. He was beloved by many, and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Ann and their family.”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome offered similar thoughts on Marchibroda, who coached the team from 1996 to 1998 after the team moved to Baltimore from Cleveland.


Ted Marchibroda coaches the Baltimore Colts in 1975. (Associated Press Photo)

“Ted is a founding father of the Ravens,” Newsome said in a statement posted to the team’s website. “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.”

Retired Ravens star Ray Lewis, who played under Marchibroda, also mourned the coach’s passing.

“Ted was a truly awesome individual,” Lewis said in a statement. “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.”

Marchibroda got his start in football as a player. He was a quarterback at Saint Bonaventure University before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1953. He played for just one season before taking time off to serve a year in the U.S. Army. He later returned to the NFL and played several more seasons with the Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals, now of Arizona, before switching his attention to coaching.

Marchibroda quickly found success, starting off first as an assistant before moving on to take the lead. Other teams he’s worked with include the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills.