How John Madden Became the Most Influential Person in NFL History

My account.

You can manage the account.
Digital magazines.
The help center is open.
You should sign out.


Join us.

Customer care.

The US and Canada.
The Global Help Center.

You can reach out.

There are careers.
The press room is located in a building.
Contact the editors.
Permissions and Reprints.


Privacy policy
Your privacy rights in California.
The terms are used.
There is a site map.

You can connect with us.

The New York Giants and the Washington Football Team played a National Football League game in December of 1986 that was interrupted by an object on the field. Pat Summerall, the CBS play-by-play man, said someone threw a shoe. The pigeon was panned to the culprit by the camera. John Madden was like he had so many times before. How did he get in there?

Madden ran with it. Madden analyzed bird behavior as if the pigeon was a lineman in the trenches. His words, which were pitched high enough to convey an infectious enthusiasm for all things football, began to ramble in that familiar, endearing way. Since then, no one else has had that sound. He tried to get up above, but there was no place to go.

Madden shared his idea for the next play. Madden said just before the snap that you can run down to the pigeon and turn left.

America lost a treasure when Madden died suddenly. Madden was the most influential person in a sport that often doubles as a religion. The statement from Roger Goodell contained no empty platitudes or hyperbole, but only truth.

His game was shaped completely by no figure. Madden won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders and has the highest winning percentage of any coach with at least ten years on the sideline. He explained football to millions of viewers as a commentator. He took fans beyond the obvious through his personal sound effects and the lines he drew on the screen. The sheer physical nature of the game was captured by that. The Madden NFL series, which was released in 1988, has sold over $4 billion in sales.

Al Michaels, who worked with Madden on ABC's Monday Night Football and NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcasts, says Madden was as important as any other figure in the history of the National Football League. He did it in the booth and with his game because he did it on the field. It helped to create millions of fans. When you combine all of that, show me someone who was as important as John Madden.

Making everyone better.

Madden grew up in a suburb of San Francisco. John Robinson was one of his closest childhood friends and he went on to coach the USC and Rams. Madden did not play for the University of Oregon because of a knee injury. He played catcher for the baseball team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he transferred after starting as a lineman. Madden's playing career was cut short by a knee injury after the Philadelphia Eagles took him in the 21st round.

He was hired as an Oakland Raiders coach in 1967, after bouncing around the college ranks. He became the youngest coach in American Football League history when he was promoted to head coach. Madden was carried off the field by his players after the Raiders defeated the Vikings in 1977. Madden said that the fewer rules a coach has, the less players can break them.

John Madden said he was just a guy.

He retired from coaching in 1978 due to a bleeding ulcer and strained relationship with his sons. He was hired by CBS in 1979. Ed Goren, who worked with Madden at both Fox and CBS, says he made everyone better. When John arrived at CBS, the definition of a production meeting was the announcements and the producer and the director going down to the bar and meeting with the PR guy for both teams to get the pronunciation right, and that was about it. When John came on board, he said, 'No, we have to watch film, we have to break this down.' The whole crew was pushed by him.

He made stars out of linemen who went unrecognized. The All-Madden team rosters he created to highlight the best of the NFL became synonymous with toughness. turducken, a turkey stuffed with a duck then stuffed with a chicken, was introduced to most of the world by him. He and Summerall worked together at CBS from 1981 to 1993 and at Fox from 1994 to 2001 and they were the soundtrack of the NFL. The time slot is Eastern. For a generation of kids in the 1980s and early 90s, Summerall's statement that a Giants-Cowboys game would be followed by 60 Minutes and Murder, She Wrote signaled the end of the weekend and the beginning of another school week. Madden and Summerall made bets on how long Summerall could hold the pause between the two shows.

Madden was everywhere. He was the face of Ace Hardware. Madden traveled the country in a bus, known as the Madden Cruiser, because he was afraid of flying. Michaels says that he was very attentive. John was so fascinating to me because he saw parts of the country that people who grew up in cities or live on the coast don't see. You don't see the farmers or the people who work in the fields. John was able to connect with many people. He had a good feeling for people who did hard manual labor. He got it. He understood.

The voice of a game.

Madden lent his name to the Madden NFL game franchise. He insisted that it be as realistic as possible. John was involved in the inner workings of that game. Either that game was going to be what John wanted it to be, or he was out.

Madden was asked if he played his video game. Madden said it was too old. I get more out of the game when I watch other people play it.

Madden remained the conscience of football after he stepped away from broadcasting. The man who used to celebrate football's violence with his on-air sound effects became a leading advocate for safety. Madden told a panel that included the league's commissioner that he didn't believe in the Heads Up program.

Madden believes that a 6-year-old shouldn't have a helmet on and learn a tackling drill. There is no way. Or an 8-year-old. They are not prepared for it. The helmets need to be taken off the kids.

Start at 6 years old. They can play flag football without helmets. You can get all the techniques with flag football. Why do we have to start with a 6-year-old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle? I don't know. We will eventually get to tackling.

His chiding of the NFL was based on his love of the game. He was analyzing how the Giants were going to celebrate their Super Bowl win when it came through every Sunday. Madden drew a line from the bucket to the sideline and said one of them would go to Giants coach Bill Parcells. One will go to another assistant. One will go to a player later in the game.

Madden broke down the games in the game. Madden explained how quarterbacks tried to get the defense to stay on their heels during the 1985 NFC Championship Game. Madden explained that they would raise their voice on the third beat even though the play began on the fourth.

Hut. A hut. Madden shouted into millions of living rooms and bars.

The sound of John Madden was ingrained in football minds forever.

How John Madden became the most influential person in the history of the National Football League.

There is an update post.

California residents can opt out of sharing their name and contact information with third parties.
Privacy policy

The website cannot function without these cookies. Some parts of the site will not work if you block or alert your browser about these cookies. The cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

We can measure and improve the performance of our site with the help of these cookies. They help us to know which pages are popular and which are not. If you don't allow these cookies, we won't know when you have visited our site and we won't be able to monitor its performance.

The cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They can track your browser and build up a profile of your interests. If you don't allow these cookies, you may not be able to see the sharing tools on other websites.

Our advertising partners may set targeting cookies on our site. They can be used to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant advertising on other sites. They are based on your internet device's unique identification. You can turn off cookies for targeted advertising here. Cookies are on when the button is green. Targeting cookies are turned off when the button is red.

Enhancements to the website can be provided by these cookies. Some or all of the services may not work if you don't allow these cookies.