A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 27, 2015
“Don’t worry if the horse is blind, just load the wagon”

Oakland Raiders football coach John Madden inspired his team just before the 1977 Super Bowl with:

“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.”

Madden meant to say that each player should do his job, and shouldn’t worry about others doing their jobs. Madden later said that he had no idea how he got that saying, and that it really made no sense. The saying is infrequently used in sports and in business.


Wikipedia: John Madden
John Earl Madden (born April 10, 1936) is a former American football player in the National Football League, a former Super Bowl-winning head coach with the Oakland Raiders in the American Football Conference of the NFL, and a former color commentator for NFL telecasts. In 2006, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his coaching career. He is also widely known for the long-running Madden NFL video game series he has endorsed and fronted since 1988. Madden worked as a color analyst for all four major networks: CBS (1979–1993), Fox (1994–2001), ABC (2002–2005), and NBC (2006–2008).

22 November 1980, Washington (DC) Star, “Ex-Coach Madden: Stranger on a Train” (Sports Illustrated), pg. D-16, col. 4:
Gesturing at the “motivational slogans” on the walls, Madden adds, “I never believed in pep talks. Once, though, in desperation, I invented an inspirational saying that made absolutely no sense—‘Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load up the wagon’—and the amazing thing was that John Matuszak understood it.”

Google News Archive
“It’s Unlucky to Be Behind at the End of the Game” and Other Great Sports Retorts
By Dick Crouser
New York, NY: Quill
1983
Pg. 34:
John Madden tells about his speech to the Oakland Raiders in the final minutes before Super Bowl XI. “I told ‘em, ‘Don’t worry about the horse bein’ blind, just load the wagon.’” What does that mean? “I don’t have the slightest idea,” said Madden.

Google News Archive
8 January 1984, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Ground Chuck ready for Raiders’ mustard” by John Blanchette, pg. C1, col. 2:
Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.
-- John Madden, B.L. (Before Lite)

Google News Archive
25 January 1987, Gainesville (FL) Sun, “Some considered thoughts of Super Bowls of past” (Los Angeles Times), pg. 10F, col. 5:
John Madden, Oakland coach, on what he said in the dressing room before the 1977 game: “I never knew what it meant, but I told the players, ‘Don;t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.’”

Google News Archive
10 November 1990, The Argus-Press (Owosso, MI), “In Your Opinion,” pg. 4, col. 3:
I suppose Rappuhn thinks anyone could do what he’s doing also. John Madden once said: “Load the wagon. We don’t care if the horse is blind.”
Pete Hornus
Owosso

10 December 1994, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), “Shell,” pg. 4-C, col. 3:
It’s like the great quote from John Madden, the former Raiders head coach who inspired Shell to take up coaching: “Don’t worry if the horse is blind, just load the wagon.”

Google Books
Real Screenwriting:
Strategies and Stories from the Trenches

By Ron Suppa
Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology
2006
Pg. 15:
Farmers in Normandy say if the horse is blind, you load the wagon and go to market anyway.

Twitter
Joanne E. Alvord
‏@1inRealEstate
John Maddin retired, He said “Who cares if the horse is blind just load the wagon!.” So funny he is so clever
10:14 PM - 16 Apr 2009

Twitter
A.P. Steadham
‏@APSteadham
Nick Saban “Let the horse run,” from “Secretariat” to relax team. John Madden “Don’t worry if the horse is blind, just load the wagon.”
12:15 PM - 20 Oct 2014

Hibbing (MN) Daily Tribune
Duluth East out-swims Bluejackets, 108-77
Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 9:21 pm
Staff Reports
(...)
“There’s an old adage, ‘Don’t worry if the horse is blind, just load up the cart,’ which means get the work done and stop worrying about the other stuff. It’s now time to fine tune.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, October 27, 2015 • Permalink