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Why John Madden is the Godfather of sports video games

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Former Raiders’ head coach has had quite the football life for decades

Atlanta Falcons v Oakland Raiders
John Madden
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

I had no trouble trying to find a Raiders’ connection to this week’s SB Nation Video Games theme week. Whenever I think of video games and I automatically think of John Madden.

Madden may have had the most fascinating football career of anyone ever to be associated with the game. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is well known to three different generations of people for three different reasons.

He was a Super Bowl-winning coach with the Raiders after the 1976 season, he was a legendary broadcaster for decades, and is a video game king.

ABC’s “Monday Night Football”
Al Michaels, John Madden

You, your parents and your kids all have a connection to Madden. In fact, if you ask anyone under the age of 30 to name a football coach — “John Madden” will probably be the answer.

It’s not hyperbole to say EA’s Madden NFL series is the one of the most popular video game series ever produced. NFL players play it, professional folks play it and kids everywhere play it. You don’t even need to be a football fan to love Madden, even though many people have said they learned to love the sport because of playing the game.

There have been television shows featuring Madden competitions and there are tournaments all over the world each year. People wait in line overnight for this game every year. The Madden NFL series is simply a monster product.

Super Bowl XI - Oakland Raiders v Minnesota Vikings
John Madden
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Madden, who is 84, began his relationship with EA Sports in 1988 when he lent his voice to the series. Madden continued to voice the game, even though he retired from broadcasting 11 years ago.

John Madden is a football treasure and his role in the video-game world is part of his legacy.