How you remember John Madden is likely a direct reflection of your age. He was one of football’s biggest titans, leaving his impact on the game in a myriad of ways.
He became a Hall of Fame coach with the Oakland Raiders in the ‘70s, worked as one of history’s best broadcasters for the three decades after that and today exists as the namesake of a video game franchise played by millions who never knew him as a coach or broadcaster.
Put it this way: Not everyone knows John Madden for the same reason. But everyone knows John Madden.
John Madden’s football odyssey has humble beginnings
One of the most unique football journeys in history began on April 10, 1936, when Madden was born in Austin, Minn. He played college football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL draft.
A knee injury in his first training camp ended his career before he ever appeared in a game and he quickly got into coaching at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif. and San Diego State (where he coached under future Chargers coach Don Coryell).
Madden joined the Oakland Raiders in 1967 as a linebackers coach and took the top job two seasons later. He was 32 at the time, making him one of the youngest head coaches in NFL history. He led the Raiders to a 12-1-1 season in his first year and never looked back.