American football coach and presenter John Madden has died at the age of 85.
Madden was best known among American football fans for being the head coach of the Oakland Raiders for nearly a decade and winning a Super Bowl with them in 1976.
He then joined CBS Sports in 1979 and became a legendary broadcaster with CBS, Fox Sports, ABC Sports and NBC Sports.
However, to video game players, he’s more famous for being the man that EA Sports‘ iconic Madden NFL series of games is named after.
The first John Madden Football was released on MS-DOS PCs in 1988. Madden was approached by Electronic Arts to endorse the game, after Joe Montana and Joe Kapp had already turned it down.
Madden was interested in the idea of a computer game being used as a coaching tool, so he agreed to endorse the game, but almost quit when he realised EA planned to only have six or seven players on each team.
Madden insisted that 11 players had to be on each team, a technical nightmare at the time which partly led to the game taking three years to develop. Ultimately, though, the game was a success.
It wasn’t until EA then released a separate game called John Madden Football on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive in 1990, however, that the series properly kicked off.
The enormous success of this 16-bit title – not just in North America, but in Europe too, where it received overwhelmingly positive reviews in magazines like Mean Machines – led to a series of sequels which continues to this day.
The most recent title, Madden NFL 22, was the 32nd entry in the main series, all of which included Madden’s name in the title.
“Nobody loved football more than Coach,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell 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.”