John Madden, the NFL Hall of Fame coach, iconic broadcaster, and the name behind Madden NFL Football, has died at the age of 85.
As reported by NFL.com, Madden died unexpectedly on Tuesday, December 28, but no further cause was given.
“On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “We all know him as the Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame coach and as a broadcaster who worked for all of the major broadcasters, but most of all he was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
“Nobody loved football more than a coach. He was soccer. It has been an incredible sounding board for me and so many others. There will never be a John Madden again, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he has done to make football and the NFL for what it is today. “
Born in Austin, Minnesota on April 10, 1936, John Madden quickly became a star in the football world. He was drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL Draft, but injured his knee during his first training camp and never had a chance to play in the NFL.
While his dream of playing in the NFL ended earlier than hoped, he quickly found his love for coaching. He began his coaching career in 1960 as an assistant coach at Allan Hancock College and quickly took over the head coach role in 1962. He moved to San Diego State before eventually leaving Al Davis as linebackers coach for Oakland. Hunter was hired in the NFL in 1967.
He was promoted to head coach of the Raiders in 1969 and became the youngest head coach of the NFL at the age of 32. During his tenure as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Madden’s record was 103-32-7 in the regular season and 9-7 in the playoffs. He won his first and only Super Bowl on January 9, 1977 and retired from the coach just two years later in 1979. In 2006 Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
While he had a long and successful broadcast career that earned him 16 Emmy Awards, one of his other greatest claims of fame was his name being given to EA’s Madden NFL football series.
In 1986 EA wanted to create a one-of-a-kind football game, and then-President Trip Hawkins, programmer Robin Atonick, and others introduced the idea to John Madden on a train to a show he was going to. They quickly realized that Madden was unwilling to reveal his name.
“If it’s not 11v11, it’s not real football,” Madden said. Due to the technological limits at the time, EA tried to limit the number of players to six or seven on each side. Madden didn’t care. “I don’t write my name on it if it’s not real,” Madden said at the time.
Madden would work with the team to create an authentic NFL experience for players around the world, from playbooks to the feel of the game. In 1988, the first John Madden Football was released on the Apple II and began what would become one of the most successful and profitable franchises in all of gaming.
As of 2021, Madden NFL Football is the only officially licensed NFL video game series and had sales of over $ 4 billion in 2013. The series has sold over 250 million copies since its first game and has shown no sign of stopping.
John Madden leaves behind his wife Virginia and two sons Joseph and Michael.
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