John Madden was football.
Growing up he formed many of the soundtracks of my life. Fall weekends watching and listening to Madden teach me about football. Few things were better than that, and I know millions of people around the country have similar stories.
It is impossible to tell the story of football without mentioning Madden in his various roles.
Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning, the NFL announced. He was 85 years old.
"On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell 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.
Madden spent 10 seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and brought the franchise its first championship with a win in Super Bowl XI. From 1969 to 1978, Madden never had a losing season in his head coaching career and compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record. He was the youngest coach in NFL history to eclipse the 100-win mark when he achieved the feat at the age of 42, and Madden remains the winningest coach in Raiders history.
"The Raiders Family is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary John Madden," the Raiders said in a statement. "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."
Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2006.
But it what was to come that would launch him into one of the most well known public figures in America. Madden went on to become a legendary broadcaster from 1979 to 2008. His voice became synonymous with football for many generations. A 16-time Emmy award winner. He worked 11 Super Bowls as an analyst until his final call in Super Bowl XLIII before his retirement in 2009.
Whether it was his larger-than-life presence while using a telestrator to explain the nuances of the game to his amusing catchphrases such as "Boom!" and "Turducken," his voice will forever be associated with some of the biggest moments in NFL history.
The league reached a point where games wouldn't feel nearly as important if Madden and Pat Summerall weren't in the booth together as arguably the most iconic announcing duo in football history.
Madden's voice, personality and knowledge of the game were forever imprinted on the Madden NFL series video game, which I spent more hours playing than I care to admit, initially launched in 1988. For today's NFL players, especially those who grew up playing the game, gracing the cover is recognized as a tremendous honor. EA has sold more than 250 million copies of the game. This remains among the most influential in history and made him a household name for a brand new generation of fans.
The game of football lost a legend. RIP Madden.