I learned about love and hate from John Madden...
I was in the stands with my dad when the Broncos beat Madden's Raiders for the AFC crown in 1977, and loved nothing more than booing the fat man roaming the sidelines throwing his arms up in a bear-like gesture when he got angry, which seemed often. He was like a cartoon villain, and as the avid teenage fan of an upstart underdog team I learned the fun of being a hater hating him and his Raiders.
In 1978--in a preseason game, no less-- the life of one Darryl Stingley was forever changed by one of those Raiders. When in the aftermath of that vicious--if arguably unintentional--hit, Jack Tatum basically wouldn't give Stingley the time of day, John Madden spent hours at Stingley's bedside, and developed a friendship with the man that would last until Stingley's death a couple years ago. I learned from John Madden that there are things in life more important than what happens between the lines; that it is possible to compete hard and be the best at what you do, and still retain not only respect, but love for your opponent.
Since that time, over Madden's years in the booth, I've appreciated most of all his humanity. Whether you like his style or not, whether you think he's a buffoon or a still savvy football mind, for me he represents, in his cartoonish way, what's right about football and about sports. I still love to hate the Raiders. And I'll miss John Madden.