Remembering the late, great John Madden
In December 2021 the sports world lost a legend: the former head coach of the Raiders, Super Bowl Hall of Famer and trail-blazing commentator, John “All Madden” Madden.
He was an icon to the football world, known as the one who played the game, coached the game and commentated on the game.
Madden revolutionized the game in many ways, including how he commentated on games with his enthusiasm.
“He made football easier to watch and easier to understand. Madden not only commentated the game, he taught it. He made it academically fun,” said Greg Eskridge, 48, a longtime Raider fan with the LA “Raider Nation” since the ʼ80s.
“When the Raiders came to Los Angeles, it was a big Raider movement out there. The city was all Black and Grey or Silver and Black. It was more than just football to the fans. We were all diehard Raider fans. We loved the team and the spirit it brought to Los Angeles,” said Eskridge.
Madden became famous when he took the Oakland Raiders football team to the Super Bowl in 1977. He coached for 10 years until he retired.
Madden then took to commentating games and was instrumental in making Fox television stations a major competitor in the sports arena. He revolutionized the sports world of commentating with his knowledge of the game.
“I never knew Madden as a coach because I was born in ‘73, so the only way I knew him was as a commentator and from the commercials. But, he still left an impact on me that still resonates with me today, because he was a man’s man. He was like that uncle with all the theatrics,” said Eskridge.
Madden’s name is in the realm of other greats who commentated sports, such as Howard Cosell and Chick Hearns. Their voices transcended any barriers of contention.
“Like all the other greats, when Madden spoke, his voice made you overlook race; there wasn’t any color line there. When you reach his level of commenting, you only notice the way the game is being spoken about. He was just a person with a great spirit,” said Eskridge.
Madden retired from commentating after a few years and started doing commercials. He was also known to his fans by the cross-country tours he would take on his Madden tour bus.
Madden also revolutionized the sports world for gamers when EA Sports made a football game after him called “Madden,” giving him a platform for the younger crowd.
“He was one great coach,” said Troy “DC-4” McKay, 29. “I grew up hearing my dad talk about Madden.
I only remember him from that. But I actually remember playing the game ‘Madden’ before I even knew who he was. I used to play the game on my very first PlayStation. And when ‘2006 Madden’ came out with all those upgrades and new dynamics; it revolutionized the game. They had this new feature called the ‘Hit Stick,’ which allowed playmakers and play action to happen. It was a dope game.”
One recent commentator of a football game said those who knew him as a coach called him Coach Madden, those who knew him as a commentator called him John and the young crowd called him “All Madden.”
It’s evident that Madden left an impression on everything that he was involved in. He was a family man, but football was his first love. He said in an interview on a local TV station that he put football before everything in his life.
Not long before he passed away, a documentary aired on a local TV station that documented Madden’s life.
“I watched that documentary and then he died,” Eskridge said.
“I was emotional after he died. I was shocked that he died not long after the documentary had aired, though. It was like he was just waiting for everybody to see it. He played a big role in a lot of people’s lives.”
Madden left an impression on generations young and old and brought an element to the sports arena that made it more interesting to watch. He will be remembered in the sports world forever. Rest in peace to the icon, Coach John Madden.