Hall of Fame trainer and host John Madden dead at 85
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It was in San Diego, in November 1966, that Madden met Davis for the first time, a meeting that would change the course of football history. For an hour they talked about strategy and stratagems. It wasn’t until much later – long after Davis hired him in 1967 to supervise Raiders linebackers and then promoted him to head coach two years later – that Madden realized he had actually passed an interview.
Their relationship was complicated. At times there was tension and pressure, with Madden navigating his demanding boss’s whims while fighting the perception that Davis, not him, deserved credit for the team’s success. But Davis appreciated Madden’s ability to deal with the diverse personalities of his players and turn them into a cohesive, winning team. In 2006, Davis introduced Madden to the Hall of Fame.
It seems hard to imagine, but when Madden first experimented with broadcast to satisfy his football cravings, he was stiff and uncertain, far from the polite professional who would set the standard for future analysts; reacting to his popularity, the networks searched for the next Madden. He expected members of his production team to know their football, and if they didn’t, he was known to take a peek at the sky and apologize to Lombardi and Halas for the ‘indiscretion.
At CBS and Fox, her frenetic style blended seamlessly with the minimalism of Pat Summerall, her broadcast partner for 21 years. Al Michaels later completed it in a different way, with an opinionated, but not overly bossy style, and a knack for leading Madden into thought-provoking discussions. Working with Madden, Michaels said, was like “singing a song, and we had the musical notes in front of us. We left.
Their last game together was Super Bowl XLIII, in February 2009. Two months later, Madden left the broadcast booth, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
Madden and his wife had two sons, Joseph and Michael, and several grandchildren. Complete information on his survivors was not immediately available.
Even in retirement, Madden remained active in football, as a consultant to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and on committees for player safety and competition.
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