John Madden is one of the most recognizable faces in professional football. If you didn’t hear about him as a Raiders coach, it was probably as a television analyst or maybe thanks to his famous video game.
John Earl Madden (April 10, 1936, Austin, Minnesota) began his career in the bands as an assistant at Allan Hancock College in 1960. Two years later he became the school’s head coach and by 1964 he was an assistant at San Diego State.
He came to the Oakland Raiders in 1967. During his first two years, he served as an assistant, but in 1969 he was promoted to become a head coach, by the way, one of the youngest in history, with 32 years old. Madden was named AFL Coach of the Year because he was also an innovator.
“We were among the first teams to have minicamps,” recalled Madden. “We were one of the first teams to take videos of practices. When I was young, I wanted to practice being a coach as much as I could.”
Under his command, the Raiders never knew what it was like to have a losing record. Oakland won 17 consecutive games between 1976 and 1977, one less than the NFL record in those days. His record is impressive: 112-39-7, with 103 wins in the regular season.
He retired in 1978 and a year later began his time as a television analyst, first with CBS (1979–1993), then with Fox (1994–2001), ABC with “Monday Night Football” (2002–2005), and finally with NBC (2006–2008). His style is unforgettable, with that thick voice, the sweeping of the words and the “bang!” and the “bam!” that made replays of a block or a tackle more exciting.
In 1988 the John Madden Football video game debuted and he was always involved because he wanted it to be a realistic game. Today Madden is one of the most important franchises in sports video games. According to official figures, until last year it had sold more than 130 million copies.
John Madden was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, two years before his retirement as a commentator. Long live to Master John Madden.
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