Legendary football Hall of Famer and broadcaster John Madden has died at 85, the NFL said Tuesday night. He passed away unexpectedly in the morning, according to the league.
Madden will be remembered as one of football’s biggest titans, whose Oakland Raiders teams never had a losing season, as a beloved football analyst who left his impact on the game in a myriad of ways.
As noted by CNN, he became a Hall of Fame coach with the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s, worked as one of history’s best broadcasters for the three decades after that and today exists as the namesake of a video game franchise played by millions who never knew him as a coach or broadcaster.
The New York Times wrote that Madden’s career was “one of the most unique football journeys in history that began on April 10, 1936, when he was born in Austin, Minnesota. He played college football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL draft.”
He joined the Oakland Raiders in 1967 as a linebackers coach and took the top job two seasons later. He was 32 at the time, making him one of the youngest head coaches in NFL history. He led the Raiders to a 12-1-1 season in his first year and never looked back, noted Sports Illustrated.
Madden reached the pinnacle of his profession in 1976 when his Raiders went 13-1 in the regular season, winning the AFC with a championship game victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. They then beat the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 in Super Bowl XI and footage of Madden being carried off the field became one of the league’s most enduring images.
Madden retired in 1978 after coaching the Raiders for 10 seasons. He finished with a 103-32-7 record and his .759 winning percentage is by far the best among coaches with at least 100 games.
— NFL345 (@NFL345) December 29, 2021