American football coach and host John Madden has passed away at the age of 85.
Madden was best known among American football fans for being the head coach of the Oakland Raiders for nearly ten years and winning the Super Bowl with them in 1976.
He then joined CBS Sports in 1979 and became a legendary TV host with CBS, Fox Sports, ABC Sports and NBC Sports.
However, to video game players, he is better known as the man after whom EA Sports’ iconic Madden NFL series is named.
The first John Madden Football was released on PC with MS-DOS in 1988. Electronic Arts asked Madden to approve the game after Joe Montana and Joe Kapp had already abandoned it.
Madden was interested in the idea of using a computer game as a learning tool, so he agreed to support the game, but almost left when he realized that EA was planning to have only six or seven players on each team.
Madden insisted on having 11 players on each team, which was a technical nightmare at the time, which in part led to the game taking three years to develop. Ultimately, however, the game was a success.
It wasn’t until then that EA released a standalone game called John Madden Football on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive in 1990, however the series duly kicked off.
The huge success of this 16-bit title – not only in North America but also in Europe, where it received overwhelmingly positive reviews in magazines such as Mean Machines – led to a series of sequels that continue to this day.
The most recent game, Madden NFL 22, was the 32nd game in the main series, and they all included Madden’s name in the title.
“Nobody loved football more than a coach,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “He was a footballer. He was an incredible soundboard for me and many others.
“There will never be John Madden again, and we will always be indebted to him for everything he did to make football and the NFL what they are today.”