John Madden’s life and legacy were celebrated in a Christmas Day documentary on FOX Sports.
“ALL MADDEN” showcased the 85-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer who won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders, became a legendary broadcaster and later the frontman for the uber-successful “Madden NFL” video game.
“Football is my life. It’s something I say proudly. But, it’s complicated,” Madden explained.
Berkeley, CA July 26, 1980 – Former NFL coach John Madden gives advice at UC Berkeley. (Digital First Media Group/Oakland Tribune via Getty Images)
The documentary took a look behind the scenes of Madden’s coaching days and later an interview with the NFL icon himself – his first in more than a decade.
“You can’t write the history of professional football without John Madden,” former Raiders defensive lineman Howie Long said.
Madden coached in the NFL from 1969 to 1978 – all with the Raiders. He was 103-32-7 as head coach and led the 13-1 Raiders to a Super Bowl over the Minnesota Vikings in 1976. He was also the youngest coach to reach 100 regular-season victories when he did it at 42. He never had a losing season and still has the most wins among all Raiders coaches.
He retired from coaching over an ulcer issue and general burnout from the job.
He would then join the other side of the sport – in the commentating booth. First for CBS, then FOX and later ABC and NBC. During his commentating career – from 1979 to 2008, he was one of the biggest broadcasters in sports.
He was known for his quick wit and the way he was able to dissect plays adding his patented “BOOM!” where it was necessary.
“I knew after I did the first couple games that that’s what I wanted to do,” Madden said. “This is it. I embraced it.”
Head coaches Forrest Gregg of the Cleveland Browns (L) and John Madden of the Oakland Raiders walk off the field after a game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on October 09, 1977 in Cleveland, Ohio. Oakland won 26-10. (Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
In 1988, he lent his name and persona to Electronic Arts’ to create the “Madden NFL” video game. The popular game went from blips on the screen for systems like Super Nintendo and turned into the behemoth that it is today across the major consoles with eSports leagues developed around the game.
Bill Belichick, Lawrence Taylor and Joe Buck were among those who were featured in the doc and spoke highly of Madden.
“When you look at John, you don’t mistake him for anybody else. You can see this guy a mile away,” Belichick said.
“John Madden made me a better player. I was pretty good. He just made me better,” the New York Giants legend said. “Simple as that.”
John Madden head coach of the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1977. Madden coached the Raiders from 1969-78. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Buck added: “If you heard his voice in the distance, that was the TV you had to run to.”
Madden’s legacy lives on through all aspects of the sport. He helped make Thanksgiving Day football must-see TV. He would award the best players of the game a turkey leg, a tradition that still lives on during the various broadcasts presently.
Madden finished his career as a 16-time Emmy Award winner. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.