Beloved Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster John Madden has died at the age of 85. Roger Goodell, 62, NFL commissioner, confirmed the news on Dec. 28, as numerous NFL stars mourned the football icon’s sudden death. “On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families,” Roger said in a statement, “We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.”
Roger continued, “Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football. 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.” Continuing with the sentiment, NFL stars shared their expressions of mourning on social media. “John called our first Super Bowl,” wrote Tom Brady in an Instagram story. “He was always so good to me. RIP to a legend of our game.” He added, “My condolences and love to the Madden family.”
Other NFL and sports world stars shared their condolences, with NBA MVP LeBron James tweeting, “Rest in Paradise To the [G.O.A.T]. John Madden!!!! Your legacy will continue to live on.” Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale also tweeted, “OMG the greatest analyst of all time of any sport passed today – JOHN MADDEN,” he exclaimed. “In the world of TV it doesn’t get any better than Coach Madden – legend -icon & GOAT / Pls May Coach Madden RIP !”
Another football legend, Brett Favre, shared, “We lost a larger than life legend in John Madden. My career was narrated by ‘Coach’, one of the best in the game,” he tweeted. “I’ll always remember our pre-game mtgs, when we laughed & talked about anything but football. I’ll miss my dear friend. Love & prayers to Virginia & the family.
Moreover, Saints running back Mark Ingram Jr. called him the “true definition of legendary” while Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said he was “one of the main reasons” he loved football “so much.” Former tennis star and activist Billie Jean King also added her condolences, writing, “Hall of Fame #NFL coach, broadcaster, and one of the greatest ambassadors for football, John Madden, has passed away. I had the privilege of meeting him, & my heart goes out to his family, friends, & all who loved him, particularly Raider Nation.”
Born in Austin, Minnesota, Madden was a football star in high school and went on to play college football before being drafted in the 21st round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958. He then, however, suffered a knee injury, ending his playing career before he got to play professionally. It was perhaps for the best since he then went on to gain fame as the head coach for the Oakland Raiders in a decade-long stint, bringing the team to seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl following the 1976 season.
After retiring prematurely as a coach at age 42, Madden became even more of a household name as a broadcaster starting in 1979 and retiring in 2009, winning 16 Emmy Awards for his work. He also became a famous pitch man, selling beer, restaurants, and hardware, and also lent his voice and personality to the Madden NFL series of football video games. “I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Madden once said. “I never really had a job. I was a football player, then a football coach, then a football broadcaster. It’s been my life. Pro football has been my life since 1967. I’ve enjoyed every part of it. Never once did it ever feel like work.”