John Earl Madden (born April 10, 1936) is a former National Football League player, a former head coach with the Oakland Raiders, a football video game magnate and is considered one of the top broadcast analysts for NFL games. In 2006, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his coaching career.
Madden was part of CBS and later FOX sports broadcasting duo, along with Pat Summerall in the 1980s and 1990s. He was also the last color commentator for Monday Night Football before it moved to ESPN in 2006.
He currently serves as a TV football commentator for NBC Sunday Night Football, author, and commercial pitchman for various products and retailers. Madden has served as a spokesman for numerous endorsement deals, including the popular, NFL-branded home video game series that has carried his name since 1988: Madden NFL.
John Madden was born in Austin, Minnesota to Earl and Gary Madden. His father, an auto mechanic, moved the Madden family to Daly City, California, a suburb of San Francisco, in 1941. John Madden attended middle school at OLPH (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), and then Jefferson High School, graduating in 1954.
A football standout in high school, he then played junior college football at the College of San Mateo
before transferring to California Polytechnic State University
in San Luis Obispo, California
, where he played both offense and defense. He won all-conference honors at offensive tackle. In addition, he was a catcher on Cal Poly's baseball team. Madden was drafted in the 21st round (244th overall) by the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles in 1958, but a knee injury in training camp a year later ended his playing career.
John Madden began his coaching career at Buffalo State College
, while he worked on his master's degree at Cal Poly. In 1960, he became an assistant coach at Allan Hancock College
and was promoted to head coach in 1962. Following the 1963 season, he was hired as a defensive assistant at San Diego State University
, where he served until 1966. During that final campaign, the SDSU Aztecs
were ranked among the top small college teams in the country.
Building on that success, Madden was hired as linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders in 1967
, and helped the team reach Super Bowl II
that season. A year later, after Raiders head coach John Rauch
resigned to take the same position with the Buffalo Bills
, Madden was named the Raiders' head coach on February 4, 1969, becoming pro football's youngest head coach at the age of 32.
Madden's overall winning percentage including playoff games ranks first in league history. He won the Super Bowl and never had a losing season as a head coach. Madden has a winning record as a head coach against other future Hall of Fame head coaches.
However, the team endured continued frustration over coming up short in the playoffs, especially against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Five title-game losses in seven years left the Raiders with the same image that the Dallas Cowboys had previously had -- as a team unable to "win the big one." Despite a 12–1–1 mark in 1969, the team lost 17-7 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final American Football League championship game. Three years later, what appeared to be a last-minute victory over the Steelers instead became a part of football lore when Franco Harris's "Immaculate Reception" gave Pittsburgh a 13–7 win. Then, in 1974, after defeating the two-time defending Super Bowl winner Miami Dolphins in dramatic fashion, the Raiders lost again to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
, the team's luck finally changed when the Raiders put together a 13-1 regular season, escaped the first-round of the playoffs with a dramatic and highly controversial victory over the New England Patriots
, then defeated the Steelers for the AFC Championship. Then, on January 9, 1977, Madden's team finally captured their first Super Bowl with a convincing 32–14 win over the Minnesota Vikings
The Raiders lost the AFC Championship Game in 1977
to the Denver Broncos with Madden battling an ulcer
for most of the season. He retired after the 1978 season when the Raiders failed to make the playoffs.
Madden retired not only with a Super Bowl ring to his credit, but was the youngest coach ever to reach 100 career regular season victories, a record he compiled in only ten full seasons of coaching at the age of 42.
, Madden has worked as a color commentator
/analyst on network television broadcasts of NFL games. After working lower profile contests for CBS
during his first two years, he was then elevated to the network's top football broadcasting duo with Pat Summerall
. The team of Madden and Summerall would go on to call eight Super Bowls together (five for CBS and three for FOX). On occasions in which Summerall was unavailable (during the CBS years, Summerall was normally scheduled to commentate on U.S. Open
tennis tournament during the early weeks of the NFL season), Madden would team with the likes of Vin Scully
and subsequently, Verne Lundquist
. On their final CBS telecast together (the _Dallas_Cowboys_38.2C_San_Francisco_49ers_21
on January 23
), Madden told Summerall that while CBS may no longer have the NFL (for the time being, as CBS would eventually regain NFL rights in 1998
), at least they have the memories. On ABC
's final Monday Night Football
telecast in 2005
, Madden used similar choice of words.
When the Fox Network gained the rights in 1994, the pair shifted to that network with Madden reportedly making $8 million per year. Following his appearance during Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002, Madden left FOX to become a commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football, working with longtime play-by-play announcer Al Michaels.
, Dick Ebersol
, president of NBC Sports
, announced that Madden would do color commentary for NBC's Sunday night NFL games
beginning with the 2006
season. As of 2006, Madden has become the first sportcaster to have worked for all of the "Big Four" U.S. broadcast television networks, and can become the first overall announcer (play-by-play or color) to call the Super Bowl on all of the 'Big Four' broadcast networks if he appears on the broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII
in Feb. 2009. It was announced on February 9
that Michaels would also be moving to NBC with Madden after his new ABC/ESPN contract was nullified so he could work on the NBC telecasts.
For listeners of KCBS-AM
radio in San Francisco, Madden does a 15 minute on-air chat with an anchor person every weekday morning at 8:15am with recorded repeats throughout the day. Madden has aired sports commentaries in syndication on the Westwood One
radio network in the United States.
Madden has had some very funny moments on his morning on-air chats. As always, his delivery is often as or more funny than the story itself:
- When backup QB Jeff Hostetler upset the 49ers to advance the Giants to the Super Bowl, he was so obscure, his team bus left without him and Madden's bus had to drive him to the SF Airport (with no bags, no ID, and barely clothed). Madden then had to vouch for Hostetler at the airport since he had no ID, was not recognizable and looked rather unsavory in his undershirt and barefeet.
- While in office, President Reagan once called Madden. John responded by saying, "Hey How Ya Doin'". John laughed about it on his talk show and said there are probably hundred different ways to greet the President of the United States, but "Hey, How Ya Doin" is probably not one of them.
- In a co-ed bathroom at an awards ceremony, he left the toilet seat up. He then realized as he was coming out of the bathroom, actress Brooke Shields was next to use it. He said "hi" and exchanged pleasantries, and realized as she was walking she would forever remember him as the guy who couldn't put the toilet seat back down.
Madden's lively and blunt delivery has won him critical acclaim and fourteen Sports Emmy Awards
for Outstanding Sports Event Analyst. His announcing style is punctuated with interjections such as "Boom!" "Whap!" "Bang!"
, and his use of the 'telestrator
', a device which allows him to superimpose his light-penned diagrams of football plays over live or re-play videocamera footage. Madden's use of the telestrator helped to popularize the technology, which has become a staple of television coverage of all sports.
Madden sometimes ends up the butt of jokes, as occasionally his commentary borders on the rhetorical and blatantly obvious. This tendency may have increased since his final years of working with Pat Summerall. It's not uncommon for someone to rib on Madden's "Maddenisms" or "Maddentary" by saying something like "Here's a guy who when he runs, he moves faster." or "If the quarterback completes a pass in the endzone, it's a touchdown." In November 2006, The Onion ran a sports brief headlined, "John Madden Reminds Viewers Of Importance Of Quarterback To NFL Teams." Madden has also been made the butt of jokes for his frequent "BOOM" comments, such as when a player hits another player hard.
Madden has also brought to popular American attention the poultry dish turducken
. While working annual Thanksgiving Day
games for CBS and later FOX, he would award a turducken to players of the winning team. He would also award a turkey drumstick to players of the winning team during the Thanksgiving Day game, often bringing out a "nuclear turkey" with as many as 8 drumsticks on it for the occasion. The drumsticks served as an odd take on the "player of the game" award. Since Madden moved to ABC in 2001, the tradition has died out, although FOX does still give an award to the player of the Thanksgiving Day game they air every year.
In 1984, Madden took the advice of NFL coach John Robinson
– a friend of Madden's since elementary school – and created the "All-Madden" team, a group of players who Madden thought represented football and played the game the way he thought it should be played. Madden continued to pick the All-Madden team through the 2001 season when he left to move to ABC and Monday Night Football
. Madden added his "Haul of Fame" for offensive lineman (his favorite players) he thought special a 10th Anniversary All-Madden team in 1994, an All-Madden Super Bowl Team in 1997 and an All-Time All-Madden team in 2000. All-Madden
was also the title of Madden's third best-selling book (after Hey, Wait A Minute I Wrote a Book
and One Knee Equals Two Feet
Madden explained, "What does it mean to be "All-Madden"? It's a whole range of things. For defensive linemen and linebackers, it's about Jack Youngblood playing with a busted leg, Lawrence Taylor wreaking havoc on the offense and Reggie White making the other guy wish he put a little more in the collection plate at church. It's about a guy who's got a dirty uniform, mud on his face and grass in the ear hole of his helmet. ABC Sports stated, "the All-Madden Team has become synonymous with greatness."
Other NFL greats who have been on various All-Madden teams are Howie Long, Dan Hampton, Ronnie Lott, Richard Dent, Jackie Slater, Andre Tippett, Walter Payton, Mark Bavaro and Bruce Smith among many others.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame
honored Madden with its Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award
in 2002. In August 2005 the Hall's Veterans' Committee selected Madden and Rayfield Wright
as candidates for entry into the Hall in 2006. Madden was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 5
In recent years he has appeared in a variety of radio and television commercials including Ace Hardware
, Outback Steakhouse
(the current corporate sponsor of the Maddencruiser
– see below), Verizon Wireless
, Miller Lite
, Sirius Satellite Radio
. In particular, the Miller beer advertisements cemented Madden's image in the public eye as a bumbling but lovable personality. He had a brief movie role playing himself in the 1994 youth football film Little Giants
and in the 2000 film The Replacements
. Madden also hosted an episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live
in 1982 with musical guest Jennifer Holliday
. As well, Madden was featured in the Irish
's music video for the song "Stuck in a moment you can't get out of." In the video, Madden is commenting on a fake football game featuring Paul Hewson
as the kicker who misses a short kick to win the game. Paul Hewson is U2 lead singer Bono
's real name.
In addition to his real-world exploits, Madden lends his voice, personality and name to the Madden NFL series of football video games published by Electronic Arts. Madden NFL is created at Electronic Arts Tiburon Studios in Orlando, Florida and consistently is one of the top selling games in North America every year. He has also recorded radio and television public service announcements for a number of causes, including the Pacific Vascular Research Foundation of San Francisco (based on the health experiences of his wife, Virginia Madden).