Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has been in regular contact with Hall of Fame coach John Madden during his team’s perfect season.
Madden, who underwent successful heart surgery recently to repair blockages, has been a constant for Rivera since team owner/founder Jerry Richardson put them in contact years ago.
“He was gracious enough to allow me to come visit and I’ve had several opportunities and he’s just been terrific. Being honest and very blunt about things, giving me advice and opinions,” Rivera said. “One of the really neat things that he had done this year is he had called me upon certain milestones that we hit in the season and congratulated me and I shared that with the players and coaches.”
Rivera said Madden, who won Super Bowl XI with the Raiders before becoming an even more famous football commentator, has told him he likes the physicality of the Panthers.
Madden also serves as the chairman of the NFL coaches competition subcommittee, of which Rivera is also a member.
“He sounds great, but is frustrated about being on injured reserve for the time being,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “He is anxious to return to action soon doing the important work he does for our game. He’s a tremendous fountain of ideas and we can’t wait to get him back. We are all pleased to know that John’s procedure was successful and wish him a speedy recovery.”