NFL icon, legendary coach dies at 85

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John Madden, the Hall of Fame manager turned broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with elemental explanations provided a play soundtrack to NFL games for 3 decades, died today, the league said. He was 85.

The NFL said helium died unexpectedly and did not item a cause.

Madden gained fame successful a decade-long stint arsenic the manager of the renegade Oakland Raiders, making it to 7 AFC rubric games and winning the Super Bowl pursuing the 1976 season. He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percent is the champion among NFL coaches with much than 100 games.

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But it was his enactment aft prematurely retiring arsenic manager astatine property 42 that made Madden genuinely a household name. He educated a shot federation with his usage of the telestrator connected broadcasts; entertained millions with his interjections of "Boom!" and "Doink!" passim games; was an omnipresent pitchman selling restaurants, hardware stores and beer; became the look of "Madden NFL Football," 1 of the astir palmy sports video games of all-time; and was a best-selling author.

John Madden his honored during a pregame ceremonial for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame astatine McAfee Coliseum successful Oakland, Calf. connected Sunday, October 22, 2006 (Getty)

Most of all, helium was the preeminent tv sports expert for astir of his 3 decades calling games, winning an unprecedented 16 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports analyst/personality, and covering 11 Super Bowls for 4 networks from 1979-2009.

"People ever ask, are you a manager oregon a broadcaster oregon a video crippled guy?" helium said erstwhile was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I'm a coach, ever been a coach."

He started his broadcasting vocation astatine CBS aft leaving coaching successful large portion due to the fact that of his fearfulness of flying. He and Pat Summerall became the network's apical announcing duo. Madden past helped springiness Fox credibility arsenic a large web erstwhile helium moved determination successful 1994, and went connected to telephone prime-time games astatine ABC and NBC earlier retiring pursuing Pittsburgh's thrilling 27-23 triumph implicit Arizona successful the 2009 Super Bowl.

"I americium not alert of anyone who has made a much meaningful interaction connected the National Football League than John Madden, and I cognize of nary 1 who loved the crippled more," Dallas Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones said successful a statement.

John Madden during Super Bowl XXXVII - EA Sports Ninth Annual Football Videogame Tournament (Getty)

Burly and a small unkempt, Madden earned a spot successful America's bosom with a likable, unpretentious benignant that was refreshing successful a sports satellite of spiralling salaries and prima donna stars. He rode from crippled to crippled successful his ain autobus due to the fact that helium suffered from claustrophobia and had stopped flying. For a time, Madden gave retired a "turducken" — a chickenhearted stuffed wrong a duck stuffed wrong a turkey — to the outstanding subordinate successful the Thanksgiving crippled that helium called.

"Nobody loved shot much than Coach. He was football," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said successful a statement. "He was an unthinkable sounding committee to maine and truthful galore others. There volition ne'er beryllium different John Madden, and we volition everlastingly beryllium indebted to him for each helium did to marque shot and the NFL what it is today."

When helium yet retired from the broadcast booth, leaving NBC's "Sunday Night Football," colleagues universally praised Madden's passionateness for the sport, his preparation, and his quality to explicate an often-complicated crippled successful down-to-earth terms.

"No 1 has made the athletics much interesting, much applicable and much enjoyable to ticker and perceive to than John," play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said astatine the time.

Raiders' caput manager John Madden celebrates successful the Oakland 32-14 triumph implicit the Vikings astatine the Super Bowl XI crippled of the Oakland Raiders vs the Minnesota Vikings played astatine the Rose Bowl successful Pasadena, California connected January 9, 1977 (Getty)

For anyone who heard Madden exclaim "Boom!" portion breaking down a play, his emotion of the crippled was obvious.

"For me, TV is truly an hold of coaching," Madden wrote successful "Hey, Wait a Minute! (I Wrote a Book!)."

"My cognition of shot has travel from coaching. And connected TV, each I'm trying to bash is walk connected immoderate of that cognition to viewers."

Madden was raised successful Daly City, California. He played connected some the violative and antiaircraft lines for Cal Poly successful 1957-58 and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the school.

Madden was chosen to the all-conference squad and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, but a genu wounded ended his hopes of a pro playing career. Instead, Madden got into coaching, archetypal astatine Hancock Junior College and past arsenic antiaircraft coordinator astatine San Diego State.

Al Davis brought him to the Raiders arsenic a linebackers manager successful 1967, and Oakland went to the Super Bowl successful his archetypal twelvemonth successful the pros. He replaced John Rauch arsenic caput manager aft the 1968 play astatine property 32, opening a singular 10-year run.

With his demonstrative demeanour connected the sideline and dishevelled look, Madden was the perfect manager for the postulation of castoffs and misfits that made up those Raiders teams.

"Sometimes guys were disciplinarians successful things that didn't marque immoderate difference. I was a disciplinarian successful jumping offsides; I hated that," Madden erstwhile said. "Being successful atrocious presumption and missing tackles, those things. I wasn't, 'Your hairsbreadth has to beryllium combed.'"

The Raiders responded.

"I ever thought his beardown suit was his benignant of coaching," backmost Ken Stabler erstwhile said. "John conscionable had a large knack for letting america beryllium what we wanted to be, connected the tract and disconnected the field. ... How bash you repay him for being that way? You triumph for him."

And boy, did they ever. Many years, the lone occupation was the playoffs.

Madden went 12-1-1 successful his archetypal season, losing the AFL rubric crippled 17-7 to Kansas City. That signifier repeated itself during his tenure; the Raiders won the part rubric successful 7 of his archetypal 8 seasons, but went 1-6 successful league rubric games during that span.

Still, Madden's Raiders played successful immoderate of the sport's astir memorable games of the 1970s, games that helped alteration rules successful the NFL. There was the "Holy Roller" successful 1978, erstwhile Stabler purposely fumbled guardant earlier being sacked connected the last play. The shot rolled and was batted to the extremity portion earlier Dave Casper recovered it for the winning touchdown against San Diego.

The astir celebrated of those games went against the Raiders successful the 1972 playoffs astatine Pittsburgh. With the Raiders starring 7-6 and 22 seconds left, the Steelers had a fourth-and-10 from their 40. Terry Bradshaw's desperation walk deflected disconnected either Oakland's Jack Tatum oregon Pittsburgh's Frenchy Fuqua to Franco Harris, who caught it astatine his footwear tops and ran successful for a TD.

In those days, a walk that bounced disconnected an violative subordinate straight to a teammate was illegal, and the statement continues to this time implicit which subordinate it hit. The catch, of course, was dubbed the "Immaculate Reception."

Oakland yet broke done with a loaded squad successful 1976 that had Stabler astatine quarterback; Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch astatine receiver; choky extremity Dave Casper; Hall of Fame violative linemen Gene Upshaw and Art Shell; and a defence that included Willie Brown, Ted Hendricks, Tatum, John Matuszak, Otis Sistrunk and George Atkinson.

The Raiders went 13-1, losing lone a blowout astatine New England successful Week 4. They paid the Patriots backmost with a 24-21 triumph successful their archetypal playoff crippled and got implicit the AFC rubric crippled hump with a 24-7 triumph implicit the hated Steelers, who were crippled by injuries.

Oakland won it each with a 32-14 Super Bowl romp against Minnesota.

"Players loved playing for him," Shell said. "He made it amusive for america successful campy and amusive for america successful the regular season. All helium asked is that we beryllium connected clip and play similar hellhole erstwhile it was clip to play."

Madden battled an ulcer the pursuing season, erstwhile the Raiders erstwhile again mislaid successful the AFC rubric game. He retired from coaching astatine property 42 aft a 9-7 play successful 1978.

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