The NFL announced the passing of legendary coach and broadcaster John Madden in December. Madden was 85.
“On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
“Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football. He was an incredible sounding board to me and so many others. There will never be another John Madden, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the NFL what it is today.”
According to his bio, Madden was a part of the CBS Sports broadcast team from 1979–1993, the Fox Sports broadcast team from 1994–2001, the ABC Sports broadcast team from 2002–2005, and the NBC Sports broadcast team from 2006–2008. Madden retired from sports broadcasting in 2009.
From 1988 on, Madden lent his name, voice and creative input to the John Madden Football series of football video games, later called Madden NFL, published by EA Sports/Electronic Arts. The series has consistently been a best-seller and has TV shows featuring competition between players of the games.
Despite Madden’s retirement as a broadcaster in 2009, he continued to lend his name and provide creative input to the series, which were so popular that he became better known as the face of Madden to contemporary football fans than as a Super Bowl-winning coach and broadcaster.
Madden viewed the game as an educational tool. During initial planning conversations with Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins in 1984, Madden envisioned the program as a tool for teaching and testing plays. He stated in 2012 that Madden NFL was “a way for people to learn the game [of football] and participate in the game at a pretty sophisticated level.”
During his time in the NFL, Madden won Super Bowl XI as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, was a 12-time Emmy Award broadcast winner, the 1984 NSMA National Sportscaster of the Year, Yahoo! Sports Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers (#2), and the 2002 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award winner.
HALLS OF FAME
In addition to his accomplishments as a coach and a broadcaster, Madden was also inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame class of 1991, California Hall of Fame class of 2009, the 2010 NSMA Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, class of 2006.
ALL MADDEN DOCUMENTARY
On December 25, 2021, the Fox network presented All Madden, a documentary highlighting Madden’s rise to stardom as an NFL coach and broadcaster. Former and current NFL players appear in the film, which premiered prior to a Christmas Day contest on Fox between the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].