John Madden is a former NFL coach, broadcaster, and media personality who is beloved by generations of football fans.
He is one of a select few people that is known to different generations of people for different reasons.
Some may know him for his famous “Madden” football entertainment games.
Some may know him for his unique personality in broadcasting.
Earlier generations remember him as a passionate coach, ranting on the sidelines for the Raiders.
Madden has lived a full life in the public eye for much of his career.
But, in today’s times, he can be much harder to find in the public.
Whatever happened to him?
Some may not realize that John Madden was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1958 NFL Draft.
Madden was selected in the 21st round (244th overall pick).
Madden came into the NFL ranks after playing both offense and defense on the California Polytechnic State University football team.
Actually, Madden was a two sport athlete in college, playing catcher for the baseball team during the football team’s offseason.
He suffered a training camp knee injury that ended his professional playing career before it began.
Madden admitted his desire to coach came about while he was rehabbing his injured knee.
He started watching film with Hall of Fame Eagles player Norman Mack Van Brocklin who explained the game in more detail to Madden.
Madden already had an interest in education so he decided to combine his love of football with teaching. (He has both a Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Cal Poly)
Madden started at the college level at a small community college called Allan Hancock in Santa Maria, California.
He was there from 1960-1963, first as an assistant coach before being named head coach.
Then, he moved to San Diego State where he was defensive coordinator from 1964-1966.
In 1967, Raiders owner Al Davis hired Madden to be linebackers coach, a position he held until he was promoted to the head coaching position in 1969.
Madden coached the Raiders for 10 seasons and finished with a career record of 103-32-7 and 8 playoff appearances.
He had a career .759 winning percentage that ranks 1st among all coaches that have at least 100 victories.
He won 7 Western Division titles that included 5 in a row from 1972-1976.
The Raiders never experienced a losing season under Madden.
He led the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI over the Minnesota Vikings.
Who is your team's greatest NFL coach of all time? For my team it's the 🐐 John Madden for the Raiders imo pic.twitter.com/LeP3slHIxa
— CurryMVP (2-2) (@BouncebackSZN) December 11, 2020
Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
On this date in 2006, John Madden was inducted into the @ProFootballHOF.
Now, if you visit Canton, you'll find his belief is reality. pic.twitter.com/PfGxcXD1DS
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) August 6, 2019
Upon retiring from coaching, Madden picked up the microphone and went on to commentate NFL games for all four major networks from 1979 through 2008.
He called some of the best games in history though his dislike of flying prevented him from ever commentating the NFL Pro Bowl held exclusively in Hawaii at that time.
Among his best moments were the Thanksgiving games where he offered the best players turkey legs postgame.
— PFT Commenter (@PFTCommenter) November 26, 2020
EA Sports Madden Video Games
Perhaps it was because of his educational background, but John Madden was a visionary.
He put his name and personality on the EA Madden video games because he saw them as a teaching tool.
Madden believed kids could learn the game at a fairly high technical level with the game that is reissued annually with current player and team configurations.
Madden NFL, as a franchise, is older than half the players currently playing in the NFL. It has also appeared on 33 different video game platforms & consoles. pic.twitter.com/vwd92ZjaXi
— Contender eSports Lubbock (@LubbockEsports) December 26, 2020
The Madden video game would go on to become one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.
He signed a $150 million dollar deal to allow EA Sports to use his name on the game.
EA Sports offered Madden an opportunity to buy stock in the company after their stock went public for $7.50 per share and Madden declined.
He thought EA Sports why just trying to get more money out of him.
By the end of 1999, the company’s stock price reached $70 and was $150 per share in 2018.
Madden later regretted not buying the stock and called it ‘one of the dumbest things he did in his life.’
Madden In Retirement
John Madden is a living legend and is largely responsible for growing the NFL to the level of where it is today.
He was an excellent communicator and made it easy for the average fan to understand football.
Madden told us what was really happening during the football game.
His personality and voice are forever etched in the minds and hearts of football fans who watched him over the years, and his legacy lives on through the Madden video games.
Madden just can’t stay away from football, so he will occasionally still call into a radio show.
Madden lives the life of retirement at 84 years of age in Pleasanton, California with his wife of over 60 years, Virginia.
Update: Madden Passes Away
On December 28, 2021, John Madden died at the age of 85.
A statement from the NFL said that he passed away “unexpectedly” on Tuesday morning.
A cause of death has not been announced.
Madden touched generations of people who loved NFL football.
Players, coaches, owners, broadcasters, and kids who play his EA Sports football video game will mourn the loss of a larger than life personality who studied to be a teacher and used those skills to share his love of the game with the world.
Thanks, Coach pic.twitter.com/jGx8aVdRPj
— Madden NFL 22 (@EAMaddenNFL) December 29, 2021
EA Sports released a statement that said:
“Today we lost a hero, His knowledge of the game was second only to his love for it and his appreciation for everyone that ever stepped on the gridiron.”
There is already a social media movement encouraging EA sports to honor Madden by putting his picture on the cover of the Madden 23 edition of the game.
John Madden should be on the cover of Madden 23.
Make it happen, @EAMaddenNFL.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 29, 2021
It shouldn’t even have to be said, absolutely @EaMaddenNFL should make John Madden the Madden 23 cover.
— ZirkClaus ❄️ (@Zirksee) December 29, 2021
John Madden better be the cover of Madden 23
— MAC-10 (@EyeOfTheBriger) December 29, 2021
Madden has not been on the cover since 2000; players have graced the annual covers ever since.
Rest In Peace John Madden!
You will be missed.