The coach, broadcaster, and all-around icon has died at 85 years old.
On Tuesday morning, the NFL announced that John Madden, a Hall of Fame coach-turned iconic football broadcaster, had passed away at the age of 85. The league did not divulge a precise cause of Madden’s death, adding that his passing was unexpected.
Madden first made history as the coach of the 1976 Oakland Raiders, taking them all the way up to a victory at the Super Bowl. Following his retirement from coaching, Madden remerged as one of the sport’s eminent broadcasters, selling the game with an unmatchable showmanship.
“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,” the Raiders said in a statement. Raiders owner Mark Davis lit the Al Davis Torch in Madden’s honor, who was himself the very first person to ever light the torch in 2011.
“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 said.
The NFL mourns the passing of a football giant, John Madden. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/h0iwr4TQAq
— NFL (@NFL) December 29, 2021
Madden’s relationship with the game of football was so legendary, that his very name became synonymous with the sport. This was thanks in part to the contribution of his name to the Madden NFL Football series of video games created by Electronic Arts, which to this day is one of the most successful game series in history.
“Today, we lost a hero. John Madden was synonymous with the sport of football for more than 50 years,” EA Sports said in a statement. “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.”