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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

Coach John Madden, R.I.P.

John Madden, the Super Bowl winning coach of the Oakland Raiders (now playing in Las Vegas), the color commentator of NFL on game day television broadcasts, and the namesake of the award-winning NFL-based videogame series Madden NFL from EA Sports passed away in late December at the age of 85.

Madden’s affiliation with the videogame began in 1984 when EA founder Trip Hawkins asked him to help develop and endorse a new NFL-based video game. Hawkins knew that the game needed someone with Madden’s expertise to make the game a success and the coach always insisted that the gameplay be made as realistic as possible.

For decades, John Madden has been one of the most iconic football coaches of all time, a man who brought to the game a breadth of knowledge, a larger-than-life personality and a heartfelt love of for football that has been unmatched by both his contemporaries and those who followed in his footsteps.

Coach Madden started coaching the Oakland Raiders, now known as the Las Vegas Raiders, in 1969, held the position for 10 seasons until 1978, and won the Super Bowl with the team in 1977. By 1984, when the video game was being produced, he was also a popular TV commentator whose personality was adored by millions. He continued to do the voice-overs for the game for many years and continued to be involved in its development right up until his death.

Shortly after news of his death was released, EA Sports Madden NFL paid tribute to Coach Madden on its official Instagram account.

EA Sports commented, “Today, we lost a hero. John Madden was synonymous with the sport of football for more than 50 years. His knowledge of the game was second only to his love for it, and his appreciation for everyone that ever stepped on the gridiron.”

“A humble champion, a willing teacher, and a forever coach. Our hearts and sympathies go out to John’s family, friends, and millions of fans. He will be greatly missed, always remembered, and never forgotten.”

Why It Matters. Madden NFL was the first and remains the only videogame authorized, licensed and endorsed by the National Football League and is available on numerous gaming platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo and Windows. Much like FIFA in the football world and NBA 2K for basketball lovers, a new version of the game is released every year. The game was first released in 1988 under the name John Madden Football and since then there have been 38 different versions released.

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