John Madden: 6 Great Moments From a Legendary Career

John Madden
Fox / courtesy Everett Collection

The sports world is still mourning the tragic loss of NFL Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster John Madden, who passed away at 85 on December 28.

Madden had a significant impact on the game of football, from his Super Bowl-winning coaching of the Oakland Raiders to his memorable commentary that saw him become the voice of the NFL. His infectious, larger-than-life personality made him a beloved figure both on and off the field.

Below are some of Madden’s greatest moments from his legendary career.

John Madden

(Credit: ©Fox / courtesy Everett Collection)

Whack! Boom! Doink!

Madden’s commentary brought extra life to the game, keeping fans entertained for three decades. And it was his catchy soundbites, such as “Whack!,” “Boom!,” and “Doink!,” that made his time in the broadcast booth so memorable.

The Turducken

Thanksgiving Day football with Madden on the call became a much-beloved tradition. An odd but brilliant part of that tradition was the turducken — the Russian dolls-like combination of duck, chicken, and turkey that Madden first tried while calling a game in New Orleans in 1997.

Madden fell in love with the dish, often talking about it on air and offering it to the player he thought performed best on Thanksgiving Day. He also made it the official “All-Madden Team” food.

Telestrator Innovation

During the 1982 Super Bowl, Madden became the first American sports broadcaster to use the Telestrator, the device that allows its user to freehand sketch on top of a moving video.

While Madden used the device to provide insightful analysis on the game, he also enjoyed having fun with it. One particularly memorable moment was when he used the Telestrator to point out Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman’s lack of facial hair growth.

First Season Success

At 32-years-old, Madden became the youngest coach ever when he was hired by the Oakland Raiders in 1969. This decision was met with much skepticism from those who thought Madden lacked the experience to carry an NFL team to success.

However, Madden proved the doubters wrong, leading the Raiders to a 12-1-1 record and a spot in the AFC title game. Despite not reaching the Super Bowl, Madden’s first season in charge was an impressive feat that set the tone for his Hall of Fame career.

Madden Video Game

While Madden established himself as a coach and broadcaster, many younger fans perhaps know him best as the face of the EA Sports video game Madden NFL. The game was first released in June 1988 and has become one of the most popular franchises in the world, with Madden’s name synonymous with the game.

Super Bowl Victory

After an impressive first season in charge of the Oakland Raiders, Madden continued to prove himself as a master tactician. But his biggest achievement came in 1976 when he led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory against the Minnesota Vikings, who were beaten 32-14.