‘He was football’: NFL Hall of Famer John Madden dead at 85

NFL fans from multiple generations are mourning the death of an icon.

John Madden, whose decades as a player, coach, and broadcaster paved the way for a bestselling video game series, died this week at the age of 85.

“We will forever be indebted to him”

According to an announcement on Tuesday, Madden died unexpectedly. No suspected cause was immediately disclosed.

Millions of football fans grew to appreciate his brand of sports commentary and ability to engage viewers while explaining plays.

“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.”

In addition to calling 11 Super Boals at four networks and winning 16 Emmy Awards for his broadcasting, Madden became the namesake of a popular EA Sports video game series.

Prior to becoming a broadcaster, Madden spent a decade as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, where he mounted one of the highest winning percentages in NFL history and led the team to more wins than any other coach.

“I know of no one who loved the game more”

Madden never had a losing season as a coach, leading the Raiders to seven AFC title games and a Super Bowl championship after the 1976 season. At the age of 42, he became the youngest coach up to that point to win 100 regular-season games.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was just one of many NFL insiders who acknowledged the crushing blow that Madden’s death delivered to the sport.

“I am not aware of anyone who has made a more meaningful impact on the National Football League than John Madden, and I know of no one who loved the game more,” he said.

A statement from the team he coached to victory heralded his achievements, explaining: “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.”

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