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The game of football has lost a legendary figure.

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning, the NFL announced. He was 85 years old.

"On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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."

Madden spent 10 seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and brought the franchise its first championship with a win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. From 1969 to 1978, Madden never had a losing season in his head coaching career and compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record. He was the youngest coach in NFL history to eclipse the 100-win mark when he achieved the feat at the age of 42, and Madden remains the winningest coach in Raiders history. He also holds the best winning percentage by an NFL head coach (minimum of 10 seasons) at .759.

"The Raiders Family is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary John Madden," the Raiders said in a statement. "Few individuals meant as much to the growth and popularity of professional football as Coach Madden, whose impact on the game both on and off the field was immeasurable."



Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2006.

"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Coach Madden," Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said in a statement. "Few, if any, have had as great an impact on the sport of professional football on so many different levels as Coach Madden. He was first and foremost a coach. He was a coach on the field, a coach in the broadcast booth and a coach in life.

"He was dearly loved by millions of football fans worldwide."

Madden retired from coaching after the 1979 season, but it was his broadcasting career that prompted the unparalleled impact he had on the game.

Becoming a well-known color commentator on NFL broadcasts from 1979 to 2008, Madden's voice has been synonymous with football for many generations. A 16-time Emmy award winner, Madden famously called games with Pat Summerall and Al Michaels throughout his unrivaled broadcasting career. He worked 11 Super Bowls as an analyst until his final call in Super Bowl XLIII before his retirement in April of 2009.

Madden's voice, personality and knowledge of the game were actualized with the Madden NFL video game series, which initially launched in 1988. Madden first started as the cover man for the video game up until 2001, when NFL players started an ongoing tradition of gracing each year's cover. For today's NFL players, especially those who grew up playing the video game, gracing the cover is recognized as a tremendous honor. Electronic Arts has sold more than 250 million copies of the Madden NFL series.

John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades, died Tuesday morning, the NFL said. He was 85

The league said he died unexpectedly and did not detail a cause.

Madden gained fame in a decadelong stint as the coach of the renegade Oakland Raiders, making it to seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl following the 1976 season. He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percentage is the best among NFL coaches with more than 100 games.

"Few individuals meant as much to the growth and popularity of professional football as Coach Madden, whose impact on the game both on and off the field was immeasurable," the Raiders said in a statement, hours before team owner Mark Davis lit the Al Davis Torch in honor of Madden, the first person to ever light the torch on Oct. 16, 2011.

"Tonight I light the torch in honor of and tribute to John Madden and Al Davis, who declared that the fire that burns the brightest in the Raiders Organization is the will to win," said Mark Davis.

It was Madden's work after retiring from coaching at age 42 that made him truly a household name. He educated a football nation with his use of the telestrator on broadcasts; entertained millions with his interjections of "Boom!'' and "Doink!'' throughout games; was an omnipresent pitchman selling restaurants, hardware stores and beer; and became the face of Madden NFL Football, one of the most successful sports video games of all time.

"Today, we lost a hero. John Madden was synonymous with the sport of football for more than 50 years," EA Sports, the brand behind the Madden franchise, said in a statement. "His knowledge of the game was second only to his love for it, and his appreciation for everyone that stepped on the gridiron. A humble champion, a willing teacher, and forever a coach. Our hearts and sympathies go out to John's family, friends, and millions of fans. He will be greatly missed, always remembered, and never forgotten."


Madden was the preeminent television sports analyst for most of his three decades calling games, winning an unprecedented 16 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports analyst/personality, and covering 11 Super Bowls for four networks from 1979 to 2009.


"People always ask, are you a coach or a broadcaster or a video game guy?'' he said when was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I'm a coach, always been a coach.


It was a sentiment echoed by Hall of Fame President Jim Porter in his statement Tuesday nigh


"He was first and foremost a coach," Porter said. "He was a coach on the field, a coach in the broadcast booth and a coach in lif


"The Hall of Fame will forever guard Coach Madden's legacy. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in his memory


Madden started his broadcasting career at CBS after leaving coaching in great part because of his fear of flying. He and Pat Summerall became the network's top announcing duo. Madden then helped give Fox credibility as a major network when he moved there in 1994, and went on to call prime-time games at ABC and NBC before retiring following Pittsburgh's thrilling 27-23 win over Arizona in the 2009 Super Bow


"John Madden was an iconic figure, transitioning from a successful coach to one of the most impactful and distinctive broadcasters in history, across all genres. His love of football was only matched by the fans' admiration for him. He will forever be synonymous with the game," said James Pitaro, chairman of ESPN and sports content for the Walt Disney Company. Madden worked for ABC Sports from 2002 to 2005 as an analyst for Monday Night Footbal


Burly and a little unkempt, Madden earned a place in America's heart with a likable, unpretentious style that was refreshing in a sports world of spiraling salaries and prima donna stars. He rode from game to game in his own bus because he was claustrophobic and had stopped flying. For a time, Madden gave out a "turducken'' -- a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey -- to the outstanding player in the Thanksgiving game that he calle


"Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football,'' NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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.


Said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: "I am not aware of anyone who has made a more meaningful impact on the National Football League than John Madden, and I know of no one who loved the game more


When Madden finally retired from the broadcast booth, leaving NBC's "Sunday Night Football,'' colleagues universally praised his passion for the sport, his preparation and his ability to explain an often-complicated game in down-to-earth term


Al Michaels, Madden's broadcast partner for seven years on ABC and NBC, said working with him "was like hitting the lottery.


"He was so much more than just football -- a keen observer of everything around him and a man who could carry on a smart conversation about hundreds and hundreds of topics. The term 'Renaissance Man' is tossed around a little too loosely these days, but John was as close as you can come,'' Michaels sai


For anyone who heard Madden exclaim "Boom!'' while breaking down a play, his love of the game was obviou


"For me, TV is really an extension of coaching,'' Madden, who also became a best-selling author, wrote in "Hey, Wait a Minute! (I Wrote a Book!).


"My knowledge of football has come from coaching. And on TV, all I'm trying to do is pass on some of that knowledge to viewe


Madden was raised in Daly City, California. He played on both the offensive and defensive lines for Cal Poly in 1957-58 and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the school.

Madden was chosen to the all-conference team and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, but a knee injury ended his hopes of a professional playing career. Instead, Madden got into coaching, first at Hancock Junior College and then as defensive coordinator at San Diego State.

Al Davis brought him to the Raiders as a linebackers coach in 1967, and Oakland went to the Super Bowl in Madden's first year in the pros. He replaced John Rauch as head coach after the 1968 season at age 32, beginning a remarkable 10-year run.

With his demonstrative demeanor on the sideline and disheveled look, Madden was the ideal coach for the collection of castoffs and misfits that made up those Raiders teams.

"Sometimes guys were disciplinarians in things that didn't make any difference. I was a disciplinarian in jumping offsides; I hated that,'' Madden once said. "Being in bad position and missing tackles, those things. I wasn't, 'Your hair has to be combed.'"

The Raiders responded.

"I always thought his strong suit was his style of coaching,'' quarterback Ken Stabler once said. "John just had a great knack for letting us be what we wanted to be, on the field and off the field. ... How do you repay him for being that way? You win for him.''

And boy, did they ever. Many years, the only problem was the playoffs.

Madden went 12-1-1 in his first season, losing the AFL title game 17-7 to Kansas City. That pattern repeated itself during his tenure; the Raiders won the division title in seven of his first eight seasons but went 1-6 in conference title games during that span.

Still, Madden's Raiders played in some of the sport's most memorable games of the 1970s, games that helped change rules in the NFL. There was the "Holy Roller'' in 1978, when Stabler purposely fumbled forward before being sacked on the final play. The ball rolled and was batted to the end zone before Dave Casper recovered it for the winning touchdown against San Diego.

The most famous of those games went against the Raiders in the 1972 playoffs at Pittsburgh. With the Raiders leading 7-6 and 22 seconds left, the Steelers had a fourth-and-10 from their 40. Terry Bradshaw's desperation pass deflected off either Oakland's Jack Tatum or Pittsburgh's Frenchy Fuqua to Franco Harris, who caught it at his shoe tops and ran in for a TD.

In those days, a pass that bounced off an offensive player directly to a teammate was illegal, and the debate continues to this day over which player it hit. The catch, of course, was dubbed the "Immaculate Reception.''

Oakland finally broke through with a loaded team in 1976 that had Stabler at quarterback; Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch at receiver; tight end Dave Casper; Hall of Fame offensive linemen Gene Upshaw and Art Shell; and a defense that included Willie Brown, Ted Hendricks, Tatum, John Matuszak, Otis Sistrunk and George Atkinson.

The Raiders went 13-1, losing only a blowout at New England in Week 4. They paid the Patriots back with a 24-21 win in their first playoff game and got over the AFC title game hump with a 24-7 win over the hated Steelers, who were hampered by injuries.

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

"Players loved playing for him,'' Shell said. "He made it fun for us in camp and fun for us in the regular season. All he asked is that we be on time and play like hell when it was time to play.''

Survivors include his wife, Virginia, and two sons, Joseph and Michael. John and Virginia Madden's 62nd wedding anniversary was two days before his death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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