Not all people who become iconic faces and names in sports are players and athletes. Even the ones who support them can be immortalized themselves if they are the best at what they do. The easiest examples would be the coaches. In the 1950s John Madden, frustrated at injuries prematurely ending his professional football career, turned to coaching. From college football to the NFL, coaching the Oakland Raiders, he became a legend in his own right with a Super Bowl win (XI) to cement it. Madden went on to become a football commentator and even got a game franchise with his name on it. His legend was set by the time that he passed away.

Entertainment Weekly tells us that iconic football coach and sportscaster John Madden died Tuesday, December 28, at his home in Pleasanton, California. He was 85 years old. The sad new was appropriately broken by the National Football League (NFL) via a statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell, who extended condolences to Madden’s widow Virginia, sons Joseph and Michael, and their families. “Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football,” says Goodell. “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.”

Madden was an example of a star sports athlete transitioning to become even better as a coach/trainer. While his player future was ended by a training camp injury with the Philadelphia Eagles, it did steer him into the more-remembered path that he took. His stint as Oakland Raiders head coach led the team to championship over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI of 1977. After retiring the following year he turned to color commentating in 1979, going from CBS to Fox, ABC and NBC in three decades before retiring from football involvement in 2009.

Another avenue where John Madden became a media giant was through videogames, where his name, image, endorsement and sports expertise were lent to the “Madden NFL” franchise by Electronic Arts. Although work on the initial game (for MS-DOS) began in 1984, Madden’s insistence on realism for gameplay mechanics pushed the debut of the franchise until 1988. His involvement in the game series, which spans multiple gaming platform generations, lasted until in 2009, but “Madden NFL” remains an ongoing and popular series. “Madden NFL ‘22” came out months ago in August.

No cause of death was given for Madden. Details for his memorial services will be provided at a future time.

Image courtesy of Variety