John Madden dies: Hall of Fame coach, NFL icon dies unexpectedly at age 85

NFL legend John Madden passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning. The Hall of Fame coach, host, and video game creator was 85 years old.

Madden is one of the most influential figures in NFL history. His highly successful coaching career with the Raiders earned him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Madden also enjoyed a highly decorated 30-year broadcasting career, including 11 Super Bowls as a color analyst. He formed an iconic broadcast partnership with Pat Summerall, with the two calling eight Super Bowls together. Madden, who was famous for traveling to games in his “Madden Cruiser”, was also the creator of the iconic video game that bears his name.

“On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We all know him as the Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but most of all, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

“No one loved football more than Coach. He used to be football. He was an incredible sounding board for me and so many others. There will never be another John Madden and we will forever be indebted to him for all he has done to make football and the NFL what it is today.”

While he could have been recognized as a contributor much earlier, Madden insisted that if he ever got the Hall of Fame induction, it would be for his work as an NFL coach. Madden got his wish nearly three decades after he coached his last game. Madden’s bust stands alongside other legendary coaches, including contemporaries such as Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Hank Stram, Paul Brown, Bud Grant and Don Shula. It also stands next to the bust of Madden’s coaching idol, Vince Lombardi, whom Madden coached as an assistant to Oakland’s staff during Green Bay’s victory in Super Bowl II, Lombardi’s last game on the sidelines.

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Coach Madden,” Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said in a statement. “Few have had such an impact on professional football on so many different levels as coach Madden. He was a coach first and foremost. He was a coach on the pitch, a coach in the broadcast booth and a coach in life.

“He was much loved by millions of football fans around the world. While it is a very sad day, it is also a day when we should celebrate the life of a man who has brought joy to millions through football.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Madden’s wife, Virginia; their sons, Joe and Mike; and the entire Madden family at this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will forever guard Coach Madden’s legacy. Hall of Fame will be hoisted on half-staff in his memory.”

Madden compiled a win rate of 0.759 as the Raiders coach, the highest percentage in league history among coaches who have won 100 games. During his 10 seasons as Raiders head coach, Madden led Oakland to the playoffs eight times. The Raiders never had a losing season under Madden, who set a 103-32-7 as Oakland coach. Madden coached in iconic games including the Immaculate Reception, Ghost to the Post, Sea of ​​Hands and the Holy Roller.

“The Raiders family is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary John Madden,” the Raiders said in a statement. “Few individuals have contributed as much to the growth and popularity of professional football as coach Madden, whose impact on the game both on and off the field was immeasurable.”

Madden coached a slew of Hall of Fame players, including Ken Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, George Blanda, Dave Casper, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Jim Otto, Bob Brown, Willie Davis, Ted Hendricks, Ron Mix, and Ray Guy. A star recipient under Madden, Cliff Branch is a senior finalist for induction in 2022. Madden was inducted into the Hall of Fame by former Raiders owner Al Davis, who hired then 32-year-old Madden as his coach in 1969.

The Raiders played in seven AFC title games under Madden, including five straight from 1973-77. And after falling short in his first five AFC title games, Madden and the Raiders finally broke through in 1976. After a 13-1 regular season, the Raiders dethroned the Steelers — the team that defeated Oakland in the previous two AFC title games — to hit their first Super Bowl ticket. In Super Bowl XI, the Raiders dominated the Vikings behind a punishing, hasty attack and an equally devastating defense. Oakland received an MVP performance from Biletnikoff, who set up three of the Raiders’ four offensive touchdowns. The Raiders won 32-14 and Madden and the Raiders were champions for the first time.

“They can never take it from you,” Madden said of his Super Bowl win. “Maybe the fact that we chased it for so long made it bigger for us. It was the best feeling in the world. There’s nothing that can beat it.”

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