John Madden, the NFL Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster whose name graces one of the most popular sports video games of all time, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, the NFL announced. He was 85.
"Nobody loved football more than Coach," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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 was born on April 10, 1936, in Austin, Minnesota. He grew up in Northern California, and played football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In 1958, he was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 21st round of the NFL draft, but his playing career ended a year later after a knee injury.
As the coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1969 to 1978, Madden led the team to eight playoffs and a Super Bowl XI victory. Madden went on to launch a 30-year career in broadcasting, providing colorful commentary. "My knowledge of football has come from coaching," he wrote in his 1984 book Hey, Wait a Minute (I Wrote a Book!). "And on TV, all I'm trying to do is pass on some of that knowledge to viewers."
Madden, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, helped create the wildly popular video game Madden NFL, which is updated every season. Tens of millions of copies have been sold, bringing in more than $4 billion in revenue, the Los Angeles Times reports. During an interview with the paper, Madden called himself "the luckiest guy in the world," adding, "I look at it and I have to pinch myself sometimes, because I've never had to work. I went from a player to a coach to a broadcaster. I've been in the NFL forever. That's my life. That's what I do. I'm just lucky."