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Raiders legendary coach John Madden dies at 85

He led Raiders to first Super Bowl title

Atlanta Falcons v Oakland Raiders
John Madden in 2016
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Legendary Oakland Raiders coach John Madden has died. He was 85.

The NFL announced Madden’s death on Tuesday afternoon after he passed away unexpectedly that morning.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame member led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl win over the Minnesota Vikings in 1977. Charismatic Madden was 103-32-7 in 10 seasons as the Raiders’ coach, spanning from 1969 to 1978. His .759 winning percentage is the best ever for any coach who was on the field for more than 100 games.

The Raiders released the following statement on Madden:

The Raiders Family is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary John Madden.

Few individuals meant as much to the growth and popularity of professional football as Coach Madden, whose impact on the game both on and off the field was immeasurable.

Hired as Head Coach of the Raiders by Al Davis at the age of just 32, Madden coached the Silver and Black for 10 seasons and compiled a remarkable 103-32-7 regular season record. From 1969-78, the Raiders posted winning records in each season, won seven division titles and qualified for the playoffs eight times. In 1976, Madden coached the Raiders to a 13-1 record and a 32-14 triumph over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, marking the franchise’s first World Championship of Professional Football.

As professional football grew in popularity and influence, Madden and his Silver and Black teams played a significant role in some of the AFL and NFL’s seminal moments, including the “Sea of Hands,” “Immaculate Reception,” “Holy Roller” and “Ghost to the Post,” among others. Madden cemented his role as a football icon in the broadcast booth, serving as a leading color analyst for all four major television networks—CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC. His work on Monday Night Football, the inception of the annual All-Madden Team and his role in the Madden NFL series of video games made the Madden name synonymous with pro football.

In 2006, Madden was presented for enshrinement to the Pro Football Hall of Fame by Al Davis, who opened his speech by calling Madden, “A brilliant coach. A loyal and trusted friend. A Raider.” The thoughts and prayers of the Raider Nation are with Virginia, Joseph, Michael and the entire Madden family at this time.

Raiders’ owner Mark Davis honored Madden on Tuesday night by lighting the Al Davis torch at Allegiant Stadium.

Madden is one of the most recognizable figures in NFL history. Not only was he a Super Bowl-winning coach, but he was a longtime announcing talent, a commercial star and the inspiration of the Madden video games. He was a household name to three different generations of football fans.

On Christmas Day, Madden was the subject of a Fox documentary that followed his unforgettable football life. A who’s who of football figures waxed poetic about what Madden meant to them.

Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter released this statement on the news of his death:

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Coach Madden. Few, if any, have had as great an impact on the sport of professional football on so many different levels as Coach Madden. He was first and foremost a coach. He was a coach on the field, a coach in the broadcast booth and a coach in life. He was dearly loved by millions of football fans worldwide. While it’s a very sad day, it’s also a day we should celebrate the life of a man who brought joy through the game of football to millions. Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Madden’s wife, Virginia; their sons, Joe and Mike; and the entire Madden family during this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will forever guard Coach Madden’s legacy. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in his memory.”

Madden touched so many in and around football and his loss will be felt throughout the NFL world.