John Madden’s legacy


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John Madden’s impact on how we view the NFL will continue to live on even past his death.

Lathan Pearce, Staff Writer

John Madden is the man who revolutionized how we engage with the National Football League (NFL). With his incredible commentary, viewers could immerse themselves into the game through the popular game publisher Electronic Arts (EA)’s Madden NFL to which he gave his name as an endorsement.

 Not only was he crucial in building the NFL into the massive corporation it is today, but he was also an incredible coach, he lead the Oakland Raiders to eight playoff appearances and their first Superbowl win.  Madden passed away on December 28, 2021. Madden was an important figure in the football world, and he will truly never be forgotten.

Madden’s career started as the Oakland Raider’s coach from 1969 to 1978. His first season went almost as well as it could’ve gone. His team earned a 12-1-1 record and only fell short in the 1970 American Football League (AFL) championship game against the Kansas City Cheifs. After the NFL and the AFL merged in 1970 he made four American Football Championships in six years, however, he could never quite make it past the hump and lost all four of them. 

Many were beginning to wonder if Madden would ever lead his team to a Super Bowl win, or if he would continue to crumble in important post-season games. In 1976 Madden silenced these doubts after leading the Raiders to a 13-1 regular season and defeating the Minnesota Vikings to win Super Bowl in 1977. 

After leaving the Raiders in 1978, Madden decided to commentate for the NFL on CBS. Madden was one of the best color commentators to ever step foot into the booth. His understanding of the game from his incredible coaching career is very evident through his commentary in which he broke down plays with his ingenious uses of the Telestrator, a device used to draw over the broadcast. He was recognized as such with a record-breaking 16 Emmy Awards.

Madden is also the namesake for the most popular and currently the only licensed NFL video game around, EA’s Madden NFL. They have sold over 130 million copies over the many different versions that come out each year to update rosters and tweak mechanics. The game allows one to further engage with the NFL in their own creative ways, like playing as their favorite team, creating a team filled with all-time players, or being the general manager of any team.

Madden is one of the most influential figures in NFL history. The many accomplishments he achieved as a coach and as a commentator even got him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Almost no one has changed the standards of how we engage with football as much as Madden.

Contact Lathan Pearce at [email protected]