The popular video game Madden released its ‘23 version this year; however, this edition is special for football fans. From 1969 to 1978, John Madden, the inspiration behind the video game, coached the then-Oakland Raiders, leading them to seven AFC Championship appearances and the organization’s first Super Bowl Title. The following year he became a broadcaster for the NFL with Pat Summerall, who was his co-host for 21 years.
Madden’s playcalling was unlike anyone had seen before; changing the commentating style forever. Madden was the first American in sports to use a Telestrator which allowed him to free-hand sketch over the moving video. Used for drawing routes and coverages, Madden often used the tool to make humorous remarks. One of the most memorable comments he made was poking fun at Troy Aikman, the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in the 90s, who was attempting to grow a beard. In the middle of the game, Madden drew a beard on Aikman saying he wasn’t “doing a very good job” of growing one. Madden also often addressed random topics during the game, commenting on the players and the events that occurred on the sidelines. Not only was Madden hilarious, but he also was very educated on the world of football. With his knowledge from coaching, he was able to add a new insight on plays and routes, allowing non-football fans to also grasp the concept of the game
This Thanksgiving was the first without John Madden. In his honor the NFL dedicated all three games to him, calling the day “John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration.” John Madden’s son, Mike Madden, reflects on his dad’s time as a coach and commentator on Thanksgiving. Madden filled the game with traditions, finding new ways to incorporate turkey into football games on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, the MVPs of the game are celebrated with a turkey leg, a tradition introduced by none other than John Madden. “Everyone looked up to John,” Reggie Whites wife expressed.
John Madden changed the game of football and will always be an influence in the NFL. Every player, coach, and personnel has nothing but positive things to say about Madden, a man whose legacy will carry on forever. A coach and commentator who will forever remain as the G.O.A.T., and a true legend.