John Madden’s everlasting contribution to football


Erik Drost

John Madden’s bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio

     I remember waking up on Dec. 25 when I was in fifth grade to open up an Xbox one which came with the brand new game Madden Fifteen. 

     Little did I know that one game would spark an ever burning flame known as my love for football, inspiring me to join many fantasy leagues, and stay up on even more Monday nights to watch prime time games. 

     John Madden is credited with being one of the most influential people in the NFL, from producing winning records for the Raiders as a coach for 10 years, commentating on some of the highest viewed football games in history, or creating a way for all future generations to embrace football. 

      When the game Madden (John Madden football until 1994) was being created, John Madden was the one they consulted in it’s creation. They wanted to use a big name in football to help sell copies initially, Madden was the second person they asked after 49ers quarterback Joe Montana refused. Originally the game was being developed as a seven on seven football game, but Madden refused to put his name on anything less than authentic. 

     Madden made sure the game utilized 11 men on the field, exclaiming the importance of lineman, and wanting the game to be as authentic as possible. 

     Madden reached out to NFL teams with hopes of receiving their old playbooks to use for teams on the game, and also reached out to players with the hopes of using their names and likeness the games were as realistic as they could be.

     John Madden saw the future of football and he made sure it was bright. He was the first person to tap into the gold mine known as sports media/games. The Madden games have generated more than $4 billion of grossed revenue.

     Madden is the reason most of my generation got their start with a timeless Sunday tradition. 

      I started by playing Madden and thought the game was so fun, and the rules were easier to learn when I was there playing it, I eventually started watching football. Now every Sunday without fail I turn on the 1 p.m. games after church and immerse myself in one of the best pastimes known to man.

      Along with bringing fans in through Madden, he kept them watching with his great game commentary, winning 14 sports emmys for outstanding sports event analysis. Madden became known for doing Thanksgiving Day games, becoming a fan favorite broadcaster through his unique vernacular and use of the telestrator. 

     For all of Madden’s great works he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

“It gets down to there’s just one person. That person turns out the light, locks the door. I believe that the busts talk to each other. I can’t wait for that conversation,

— John Madden

     “Here is the deal: I think over in the Hall of Fame, that during the day, the people go through, they look at everything. At night, there’s a time when they all leave. All the fans and all the visitors leave the Hall of Fame. Then there’s just the workers. Then the workers start to leave. It gets down to there’s just one person. That person turns out the light, locks the door. Madden said “I believe that the busts talk to each other. I can’t wait for that conversation, I really can’t. Vince Lombardi, … Reggie (White), Walter Payton, all my ex-players. We’ll be there forever and ever and ever talking about whatever. That’s what I believe. That’s what I think is going to happen, and no one’s ever going to talk me out of that.”

     I do hope that Madden is enjoying that conversation as he looks down on a grateful football fanbase. Who will be remembered anytime a touchdown pass is made when playing Madden. A big play is made on Thanksgiving Day. Finally when you walk through the Pro Football Hall of Fame and see his bust and think of the amazing conversations he’s having.