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John Madden passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 85. The Hall of Fame coach who turned his broadcasting style into the epitome of excellence in the booth was maybe most known for the Madden video-game series that helped turn the sport into a global business.
The league had no other details on his death, other than a statement that ready he passed ‘unexpectedly.’
“John Madden is as important as anybody in the history of football,” fellow broadcaster Al Michaels said. “Tell me somebody who did all of the things that John did, and did them over this long a period of time.”
Madden first made his name on a national level when he coached the Oakland Raiders, making seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl in 1976.
“Few individuals meant 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,” an official statement from the Oakland Raiders said.
“Tonight I light the torch in honor of and tribute to John Madden and Al Davis, who declared that the fire that burns the brightest in the Raiders Organization is the will to win,” Mark Davis, Raiders’ owner, said.
A winner as a coach. A fine example of a broadcaster. And a legacy cemented by a video game that has now become a marquee name across all platforms.
“Today, we lost a hero. John Madden was synonymous with the sport of football for more than 50 years,” an official statement from EA Sports said. “His knowledge of the game was second only to his love for it, and his appreciation for everyone that stepped on the gridiron. A humble champion, a willing teacher, and forever a coach. Our hearts and sympathies go out to John’s family, friends, and millions of fans. He will be greatly missed, always remembered, and never forgotten.”
Although Madden started his broadcasting career at CBS, he would go on to call games at ABC and NBC.
“People always ask, ‘Are you a coach or a broadcaster or a video game guy?'” Madden said back in 2006. “I’m a coach, always been a coach.”
Madden was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
“Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “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.”
John passed away just two days after he and his wife, Virginia Madden, celebrated their 62nd anniversary.
“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, summed up.