Advertisement

John Madden, legendary NFL coach and broadcaster, dies at age 85

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2006, file photo, former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden gestures toward a bust of himself during his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. After a decade run as a successful coach of the Raiders, Madden made his biggest impact on the game after moving to the broadcast booth at CBS in 1979. He became the network's lead analyst two years later and provided the sound track for NFL games for most of the next three decades, entertaining millions with his interjections of "Boom!" and "Doink!" throughout games, while educating them with his use of the telestrator and ability to describe what was happening in the trenches. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File).

Former National Football League coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden has passed away at the age of 85, the league confirmed Tuesday.

The NFL said in a statement that Madden, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his coaching career with the Oakland Raiders, died unexpectedly Tuesday morning.

“Nobody loved football more than Coach,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “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.”

No cause of death was given. The league said memorial service information will be announced when it is available.

Story continues below advertisement

Madden gained fame in a decade-long stint as the coach of the renegade Oakland Raiders, making it to seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl following the 1976 season.

He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percentage is the best among NFL coaches with more than 100 games.

But it was after his premature retirement from coaching at age 42 — brought on by a fear of flying — that Madden became a household name, entertaining millions by calling NFL games for another three decades. His regular interjections of “Boom!” and “Doink!” along with his ability to simply explain the game to audiences made him synonymous with the sport.

Madden later lent his name not only to the massively successful “Madden NFL Football” series of video games, but also to restaurants, hardware stores and beer. He also became a best-selling author with several books on football and his own career.

Most of all, he was the preeminent television sports analyst for most of his three decades calling games, winning an unprecedented 16 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports analyst/personality, and covering 11 Super Bowls for four networks from 1979-2009.

FILE – This Jan. 20, 2002, file photo shows Pat Summerall, left, and John Madden, right, in the FOX broadcast booth before the NFC divisional playoff in St. Louis. The hiring of Summerall and Madden as the top broadcast team gave Fox instant credibility, but the network also helped launch the network football careers of Joe Buck, Thom Brennaman, Kenny Albert and Kevin Harlan. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File).

He started his broadcasting career at CBS, partnering with Pat Summerall to become the network’s top announcing duo. Madden then helped give Fox credibility as a major network when he moved there in 1994, and went on to call prime-time games at ABC and NBC before retiring following Pittsburgh’s thrilling 27-23 win over Arizona in the 2009 Super Bowl.

Story continues below advertisement

When he finally retired from the broadcast booth, leaving NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” colleagues universally praised Madden’s passion for the sport, his preparation, and his ability to explain an often-complicated game in down-to-earth terms.

For anyone who heard Madden exclaim “Boom!” while breaking down a play, his love of the game was obvious.

“For me, TV is really an extension of coaching,” Madden wrote in “Hey, Wait a Minute! (I Wrote a Book!).”

“My knowledge of football has come from coaching. And on TV, all I’m trying to do is pass on some of that knowledge to viewers.”

Madden was raised in Daly City, California. He played on both the offensive and defensive lines for Cal Poly in 1957-58 and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the school.

Madden was chosen to the all-conference team and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, but a knee injury ended his hopes of a pro playing career. Instead, Madden got into coaching, first at Hancock Junior College and then as defensive coordinator at San Diego State.

FILE – In this Jan. 4, 1977, file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler, right, talks with coach John Madden in Oakland, Calif. Madden called the shaggy-haired Stabler, whose wild style on the field and off helped earn him the nickname “The Snake,” the perfect Raider. The only thing missing when Stabler is inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2016, will be Stabler himself. (AP Photo/George Brich, File).

Al Davis brought him to the Raiders as a linebackers coach in 1967, and Oakland went to the Super Bowl in his first year in the pros. He replaced John Rauch as head coach after the 1968 season at age 32, beginning a remarkable 10-year run that climaxed with the team’s 1976 Super Bowl win.

Story continues below advertisement

Now based in Las Vegas, the Raiders released a statement Tuesday highlighting Madden’s role in shaping the franchise as its head coach. The team’s website was also altered to feature Madden’s name.

“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,” the team said.

Tributes quickly poured out on Tuesday for Madden from fellow NFL coaches, broadcasters and team owners.

“There is no one who lived a more beautiful football life than John Madden,” said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who long regarded Madden as a dear friend.

–With files from the Associated Press

Sponsored content