Hall of Fame Coach John Madden dies at 85
By: Mike Stiles - Wednesday, December 29, 2021

John Madden (photo courtesy of NFL)

(UNDATED) - John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach-turned-broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades, died Tuesday morning, the NFL said. He was 85. The league said he died unexpectedly and did not detail a cause. 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. It was Madden's work after retiring from coaching at age 42 that made him truly a household name. He educated a football nation with his use of the telestrator on broadcasts; entertained millions with his interjections of "Boom!" and "Doink!" throughout games; was an omnipresent pitchman selling restaurants, hardware stores and beer; and became the face of Madden NFL Football, one of the most successful sports video games of all time. Madden 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 to 2009. Madden started his broadcasting career at CBS after leaving coaching in great part because of his fear of flying. He and Pat Summerall became the network's top announcing duo. Madden then helped give Fox credibility as a major network when he moved there in 1994, and he went on to call prime-time games at ABC and NBC before retiring after the Pittsburgh Steelers' thrilling 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl. Burly and a little unkempt, Madden earned a place in America's heart with a likable, unpretentious style that was refreshing in a sports world of spiraling salaries and prima donna stars. He rode from game to game in his own bus because he was claustrophobic and had stopped flying. For a time, Madden gave out a "turducken" -- a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey -- to the outstanding player in the Thanksgiving game that he called. When Madden retired from the broadcast booth, leaving NBC's "Sunday Night Football," colleagues universally praised his passion for the sport, his preparation and his ability to explain an often-complicated game in down-to-earth terms. Al Michaels, Madden's broadcast partner for seven years on ABC and NBC, said working with him "was like hitting the lottery."