Football legend John Madden dies at 85

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

John Madden has tragically passed away on Dec. 28 at 85.

In a press release shared on the National Football League’s communications department official Twitter page, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and legendary sportscaster “died unexpectedly this morning.” In addition to the announcement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent his condolences to Madden’s wife Virginia and their two sons, Michael and Joseph.

He said, “On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe, and their families. 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.”

Goodell wrapped the statement by sharing Madden’s love for the game of football and thanking him for what he’s professionally done to help “make football and NFL what is it today.”

“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.”

Madden began his coaching career in 1967 as the Oakland Raiders linebacker coach. Two years later, he was promoted to the football team’s head coach. After working ten seasons as the Raider’s head coach, Madden helped bring the franchise their first championship against the Minnesota Vikings during Super Bowl XI. During Madden’s time as head coach for the Raiders from 1969 to 1978, the team didn’t lose.

He was also the youngest coach to bypass the 100-win mark at 42-years-old. Madden ultimately retired from coaching following his 1979 season, but despite stepping down from coaching, he continued being an essential part of the football world by becoming a commentator for NFL programmings from 1979 to 2008. A few years before leaving his job as a commentator in 2006, Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach.

Among Madden’s many successes, many gamers may know him based on the Madden NFL video games highly inspired by his commentary style and passion for football. EA Sports released the first game in 1988 and is still a fan favorite. In addition, it is the only officially licensed NFL video game.

Details surrounding his death and a public memorial have yet to be released.