Yesterday, John Madden passed away at the age of 85. He was a legendary head coach for the Oakland Raiders, leading them to a Super Bowl XI victory. He has a career winning percentage of .750, never having a losing season in the process. He's also the youngest head coach to win 100 games at the age of 42.
But what the NFL Hall of Famer is known for is his time as a color commentator. He made his mark with Pat Summerall on CBS and Fox, and later, Al Michaels on ABC and NBC. He was well-known for using the telestrator and entertaining viewers and fans alike with his engaging commentary.
Gamers like myself remember Madden for the Madden NFL series that he helped to create and design. Starting in 1988 with John Madden Football for the Apple II, the series has been ported to consoles such as the Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, and Nintendo 64. Inspired by Strat-O-Matic football, Madden NFL took the essence and passion that the NFL legend shared and put it into video game form.
Each year, the series brought in different types of innovation. Whether it was a graphical upgrade or running your own franchise, Madden had it all for the average football fan. You could customize your roster and call plays as you see fit. In short, you controlled how the team played every week.
Madden even lent his commentary to the game, whether it was on the Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64. You'd hear him say things like, "I heard their helmets fly way up here," "DOINK," and "BOOM!" It felt like you were watching an actual NFL game with Pat Summerall, front and center.
The NFL wouldn't be where it is today without John Madden's contributions. Whether it was on the field or in video games, the NFL Hall of Famer made his presence felt and made the game enjoyable for even the casual audience. The Madden NFL series is a testament to the legend's passion and love for the game.