John Madden, Hall of Fame Raiders coach and announcer, dies

(NewsNation Now) — John Madden, the legendary NFL announcer and former coach of the Raiders, died “unexpectedly this morning,” according to a news release from the league.

“Nobody loved football more than Coach,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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.”

The league did not announce a cause of death.

Madden will be remembered for three enduring football legacies: a champion head coach, a top-shelf broadcaster, and the name on the iconic football video game.

FILE – Coach John Madden of the Oakland Raiders is carried from the field by his players after his team defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 9, 1977 John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades, died Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, the NFL said. He was 85. (AP Photo/File)

“People always ask, are you a coach or a broadcaster or a video game guy?” he said when was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “I’m a coach, always been a coach.”

John Madden was the youngest head coach in NFL history when he was tapped to run the Oakland Raiders at the age of 32. He went 12-1-1 in his first season, and amassed 103 wins against 32 losses and seven ties in his decade at the helm.

“I always thought his strong suit was his style of coaching,” quarterback Ken Stabler once said. “John just had a great knack for letting us be what we wanted to be, on the field and off the field. … How do you repay him for being that way? You win for him.”

He became a champion in the 1976 season, when his Raiders beat the Vikings in Super Bowl XI.

“I am not aware of anyone who has made a more meaningful impact on the National Football League than John Madden, and I know of no one who loved the game more,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.

After 10 seasons at the helm, Madden retired and began the next iconic chapter of his life: broadcasting. He was paired with Pat Summerall in 1981 and called top games for CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC before retiring after the 2008 season. His final game in the announcing booth was Super Bowl XLIII between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.

“No one has made the sport more interesting, more relevant and more enjoyable to watch and listen to than John,” play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said at the time.

Madden’s legacy continues because of the popular video game franchise that has borne his name for more than 30 years. When the team at Electronic Arts first approached him about the idea, he insisted the game be 11 on 11 — which was more technically demanding than electronics of the time were capable of.

It became a top seller, and in the mid-2000s became the only officially licensed NFL video game.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia, and two sons, Joseph and Michael. John and Virginia Madden’s 62nd wedding anniversary was two days before his death.


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