John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach of the then-Oakland Raiders, has passed away aged 85. The winner of the 1977 Super Bowl would go on to have a wildly successful broadcasting career, which resulted in EA Sports signing him as the face of its American football simulations – a role he’s retained until the present day. Madden is now synonymous with video games, as well as the NFL as a whole.
In a twist of serendipity, FOX Sports broadcasted a heavily advertised documentary on Madden’s life and career on Christmas day. “Nobody loved football more than Coach,” the league’s commissioner Roger Goddell said in a statement. “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.”
EA Sports has also released its own tribute: “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 who ever stepped on the gridiron. A humble champion, a willing teacher, and forever a coach.”
While Madden’s role has been reduced in more modern NFL games from EA Sports, his presence has always been there, and more recently he’s been available as an unlockable coach in Ultimate Team. We suspect next year’s game, Madden NFL 23, will feature a fitting tribute to the footballing icon. “He will be greatly missed, always remembered, and never forgotten,” EA Sports concluded.