The passing of Ted Marchibroda has brought back recollections and reflections on his career in the NFL and in particular with the Buffalo Bills. Marchibroda had two stints with the Colts as well the Ravens as a head coach, but for Bills fans it was his contribution as architect of the famous K-Gun that they’ll remember. Oddly last month in the ESPN documentary “Four Falls of Buffalo” it was Marv Levy who apparently forgot.

In the excellent two hour documentary done by NFL Films for ESPN when the topic of the no-huddle came up it was Levy failed to credit Marchibroda. Levy said this: “after the game ended (Bills loss to Cleveland in 1989 playoffs) in talking with our coaching staff, I don’t know who, came up with the idea, how about making that (the no-huddle) our offense next year?”.

As soon as Levy said that I thought to myself “we all remember it was Ted Marchibroda who created the K-Gun”. I brought the omission up to several colleagues after the airing of the 30 for 30 program and some suggested that Marv, who is now 90, simply forgot. I’ll give Levy the benefit of the doubt, although Marv has been known to be somewhat of a revisionist when discussing those events from twenty-five plus years ago.

Ted Marchibroda

Ted Marchibroda

Players like Andre Reed and James Lofton certainly remember Marchibroda’s contribution. Both credited Marchibroda with being ahead of his time. Creating an offense that became the foundation for many of the current NFL offenses multiple decades later.

I remember Ted Marchibroda as one of the nicest, cordial gentlemen I ever met in my experience in broadcasting. Ted always had a smile and a warm welcome, eager to chat, even if he didn’t feel like doing an on camera interview.

Marchibroda also had a warm feel for western New York having played football for two years for St. Bonaventure. Ted once told me that the Buffalo area reminded him of his hometown of Franklin Pennsylvania, just about three hours away.

Surprisingly Marchibroda was credited by Bill Belichick Sunday after his win over Kansas City for giving him his start in the NFL. “I wouldn’t be here if not for Ted Marchibroda,” said Belichick.

Marchibroda had given Belichick his first NFL job with the Baltimore Colts at the tender age of 22. “I learned so much from him,” Belichick said. “A lot of X’s and O’s, but it really wasn’t the X’s and O’s. It was a lot more about just being a football coach, being a professional coach, preparation, work ethic, dependability, what goes into having a good football team.”

Ted Marchibroda was an innovator as an NFL coach, but more importantly a first class person who left a lasting impression on most of those who had the good fortune of making his acquaintance.

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