Coach Madden’s Positive Impact on the NFL as a Leader, Mentor, Broadcaster and Person

Coach Madden ABC

“Self-praise is for losers, be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class and be humble” Coach Madden

An old high school pal texted me saying, “I expect you to post something profound about Madden.”

Wasn’t really planning anything, but here it goes.

John Madden is a classic example of “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” He went from a disliked (by many) coach to a quirky, lovable, quotable analyst.

Madden is a person, a figure that garnered strong emotions from people over the years. In fact, unless you are a true Raiders fan, and in those days the Raiders were a nasty, dare I say dirty football team. See Jack Tatum and Darryl Stingley.

I can remember my mother saying John Madden was a jerk.

My mother.


This from the woman who never said a bad word about anyone.

But when Madden was coaching the Raiders, he was young, intense and am damn good.

I think just by sharing the fact that he was petrified to fly made him a sympathetic figure. As a coach he was forced to and, perhaps this accelerated his exit from coaching and force him to the broadcast booth—where he was one of, if not the best ever.

Funny. Frank and knowledgeable. What more could a real football fan ask for?

His Thanksgiving Day Turkey awards were legendary! “That Turkey has three legs!”

His adjectives describing hits were Batman worthy, “boom,” “pow!”

His words were, quotable; “Brett Favre is Brett Favre,” And, “hmmm, one knee must equal two feet.”

And here is a keeper for all to consider: “Self-praise is for losers, be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class and be humble”

Madden spent 10 seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and brought the franchise its first championship with a win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. From 1969 to 1978, Madden never had a losing season in his head coaching career and compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record. He was the youngest coach in NFL history to eclipse the 100-win mark when he achieved the feat at the age of 42, and Madden remains the winningest coach in Raiders history. He also holds the best winning percentage by an NFL head coach (minimum of 10 seasons) at .759

As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, Madden was football for so much of his life. He played in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl as a coach in the NFL. He called so many big NFL games as one of the best broadcasters to ever to it. And he also became the namesake of the biggest sports video game of all time.

Madden’s voice, personality and knowledge of the game were actualized with the Madden NFL video game series, which initially launched in 1988. Madden first started as the cover man for the video game up until 2001, when NFL players started an ongoing tradition of gracing each year’s cover. For today’s NFL players, especially those who grew up playing the video game, gracing the cover is recognized as a tremendous honor. Electronic Arts has sold more than 250 million copies of the Madden NFL series.

I often tell sport management students the story about how Madden turned down perpetual royalties, and potential millions when offered by EA Sports but told them to just give him a large, but pales in comparison remuneration.

Hey, even the greatest make mistakes. But only the best of the greatest can laugh at themselves.

RIP Coach Madden!

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