NFL Icon John Madden is Dead at Age 85

Few individuals had as much influence, positive impact, and wide-ranging touch when it came to the NFL like John Madden, who died at age 85.

For a generation of fans, Madden was a star coach on the sidelines. Madden, hired as the youngest coach in football in 1969, won Super Bowl XI as the Raiders’ head coach. He als has the highest winning percentage in franchise history. A 112-39-7 all-time record came with a 103-32-7 clip that yielded a 76.3% winning percentage. Pretty darn good. The battles between Madden’s Raiders teams and their AFC rivals during his reign were iconic and are worth digging into if you’re a football history buff.

In his post-coaching career, Madden was a star broadcaster as a color commentator for FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC. The team of Madden and Pat Summerall were the voices of a generation of premier NFL ON FOX contests. When you discuss broadcast “A” teams, the Madden-Summerall duo was at the top of the list. Growing up, you knew your favorite team was in a big game if Madden was on the call. Madden’s broadcasting style falls under that “often imitated, never duplicated” umbrella. There is a case that his style is a blueprint for today’s coach-turned-broadcaster formula that networks follow.

And, of course, Madden is widely known as the namesake of the Madden NFL video game series. The Madden video game dynasty is unlike anything in gaming or sports. And at the peak of its powers, Madden (the game) was highly influenced by Madden (the man) who pushed the envelope to make sure games were realistic as possible. Yes, that included more realistic game play-by-play broadcast drop-ins. So, if you’re of a certain age, then you grew up with Madden and Summerall on TV and on your game console. “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game” … if you catch my drift.

In other words, if you love of the NFL, there’s a high probability Madden was in your football life in one way or another. He’ll be missed.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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