Update: Unfortunately, John Madden passed on December 28, 2021. His death was announced by the NFL.
“On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
“Nobody loved football more than Coach. 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.”
Listen, this is an odd thing for me to write… but… with all of the Henry Ruggs stuff that I have been forced to cover this week, it made me think more about the Raiders and how much of a disjointed clusterfvck of an organization it has been for like… 20 years.
That got me to thinking, is John Madden still alive? I legit didn’t know. He is!
Madden is currently 85 (his birthday is April 10, if you want to line up a present for next year) and, apparently, he is doing just fine living in Pleasanton, California with his wife of over 60 years, Virginia.
He was hospitalized multiple times for heart, hip, knee and esophagus operations but, otherwise is still in (relatively) good health.
He appreciates the entire journey through life, and his time with the game.
“Football has been my whole life. I really think that I’m lucky that I never had a job, you know, I never worked. I played in high school. I played in college, and I played in the pros for a short time. And then I went into coaching and coached the rest of my time. And then I got out of coaching and went into broadcasting and then the video game … that’s been my life,” he told ESPN. “It’s not something that just came about, or I jumped around doing different things. I did different things within the game of football. And one of the big ones, of course, is the Madden game.
For most people on this site, they known Madden from…. Madden, the video game franchise. Sure, you peripherally know him as a coach (he won the Super Bowl with the Raiders when he was just 40), or maybe as a broadcaster (which he did for 30 years, too). But ultimately it is his name forever being attached to the game that gives him a complete legacy.
It is pretty wild to think about, and something that Madden has done. Especially as the game and his game have taken steps forward.
“If it’s in the game of pro football, we wanted it to be in the video game,” he said. “When I was first involved, it was drawing up plays and players. I let them have my playbook and gave them an understanding of what a playbook is. Then it became a thing where we would pick up players, their words and stuff like that as we went along. But I think the biggest thing was when we received the film from the NFL. Until then we had to go get the plays and the offense and the nomenclature from different cultures. And sometimes it was a college coach and we got discombobulated there sometimes.
“Now you can take and copy the real play. Now, we don’t have to draw them up and think what they are, especially with Next Gen Stats now in Madden NFL 21. And I think as close as you can stay to what the game looks like and the players look like, I think the better the game will be because these players and plays now are so sophisticated.”
CBS did a “Things You Might Not Know About John Madden” to celebrate his birthday and instead of ripping that off completely, I would advise you just go read it: HERE.
Anyways… the point of this was to let you know, YES… John Madden is alive. Something I didn’t know.