One of the most influential figures in NFL history, sports broadcasting, and video games has passed away.
The NFL announced that John Madden, died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning at the age of 85. His death comes just three days after the premiere of the ‘All Madden’ documentary chronicling his football life and lasting impact on the sport.
There’s just no way I can write this obituary and do John Madden’s career justice. It’s hard to process the idea that such a larger than life figure is now gone. He was a Super Bowl winning head coach with the Oakland Raiders and no one has a better regular season win percentage (min. 100 games coached) in league history. After retiring from coaching he went on to become an innovative and energetic color commentator for CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC for nearly 30 years. In 2006, he was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Madden was also a spokesman for Miller Lite, Ace Hardware, “Tough Actin’” Tinactin, and several other brands. To multiple generations of football fans, he’s the namesake of the enormously influential video game series. For football players, it was an honor to make the All-Madden team as much as, if not more than an All-Pro team.
Madden’s passion and knowledge for the game combined with his booming voice made him the preeminent figure of NFL commentary. Sunday afternoons with him and Pat Summerall is a television experience that is arguably unmatched. In addition to being an enormous influence on fellow coaches and commentators, Madden revolutionized sports broadcasts as we know them. The telestrator is commonplace now but Madden was the first to use it for Super Bowl XVI in 1982.
Oh yes, and how can we forget the popularization of the Turducken?
I urge you to watch the All Madden documentary, which is re-airing on Fox Sports 1 over the next two nights at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT. You’ll learn so much about Madden the football guy and Madden the human being.
Madden is survived by his wife Virginia, his sons Joe and Mike, and five grandchildren.
Rest in peace, coach.