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In some ways, Madden’s rise in the TV booth mirrored the NY Giants’ rise to champions in the 1980s. You haven’t lived until you watch the John Madden call of the Gatorade bucket baths the mid-1980s Giants made famous in their rise and run to victory in Super Bowl XXI. Here’s the call of the first Gatorade dunk.

John Madden crossed multiple football generations. To the fans of football for 50 plus years (like me), Madden was the coach of the Oakland Raiders, leading the team to their first-ever Super Bowl Championship. He never had a losing season and led the Raiders to the playoffs in 8 of those 10 seasons. To younger fans, Madden was a top analyst…no THE top analyst in the TV booth for the best football games ever broadcast for over 30-plus years. To the youngest fans, Madden is best known for the video game Madden Football. John Madden passed away on Tuesday at the age of 85.

Madden’s football coaching career is legendary on its own. Madden made a fast rise from college coaching (Allen Hancock College, then San Diego State) to the NFL in the 1960s. He joined the Raiders in 1967 as Linebackers Coach under John Rauch and immediately was part of a championship team helping the Raiders win the American Football League title. That team then played the Green Bay Packers in the first-ever Super Bowl. Madden became the Head Coach of the Raiders in 1969 at the then-amazingly young age of 33. In 1976, Madden led his team to its first Super Bowl win versus the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. He coached two more seasons at Oakland, then retired in 1978.

His vacation from football did not last long. Madden then started his next illustrious career in the 1979 season as a football analyst and commentator. His broadcasting career would last 30 years and span all major football networks (CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC). Madden’s rise in the TV booth mirrored the NY Giants’ rise to champions in the 1980s. Madden called many of the Parcells-era Giants games with his first broadcast partner, former Giants TE and Kicker, Pat Summerall. For 22 seasons, Summerall and Madden shared the same booth at CBS and then FOX for mostly the NFL’s most important games each week. Madden then joined Al Michaels in the booth for ABC’s Monday Night Football and NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

It was in the TV booth that Madden became a wizard of the telestrator, the device that allowed him to write over replays shown to fans. Fans’ knowledge of the game grew with every game Madden was in the booth. Madden introduced the football fans to the Telestrator during the 1982 Super Bowl. Madden was a master at explaining in simple terms what teams were trying to accomplish on plays. And to make his point, fans would be introduced to simple, now-iconic words “BOOM” and “Doink”. Boom if the play worked, and Doink if it didn’t.

Madden’s TV career then spawned another legendary movement in technology, football video games. In 1988, “John Madden Football” was introduced on an Apple II computer. Now known as “Madden NFL”, the video game has evolved with tremendous sophistication and is one of the longest-running video games ever. For two decades, the broadcast team of Summerall and Madden would call your video games as you played.

John Madden is an NFL Hall of Famer. More appropriate, John Madden is an NFL Icon. Rest in peace Coach.

Photo courtesy of Field Gulls

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