John Madden dies at 85: Timeline of NFL legend’s career from player to Hall of Fame coach, broadcaster

The NFL lost one of its biggest legends Tuesday with the unexpected passing of John Madden, 85, the retired Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster. But Madden’s legacy will live on. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said it best, in remembrance, on Tuesday: John Madden was football — an icon of the sport, a mentor of the game, a voice for generations.

Here’s a timeline of Madden’s career as a titan of the industry:

College days

Born in Minnesota and raised in California, Madden starred in high school football before playing offensive and defensive line at the College of San Mateo. He eventually got a scholarship from Oregon alongside friend and future USC and Rams coach John Robinson, bounced to Grays Harbor College after a knee injury resulted in a redshirt season, then finally landed with Cal Poly, where he earned all-conference honors as an offensive tackle.

Drafted to the NFL

The Eagles drafted Madden in the 21st round of the 1958 draft, two years before Philadelphia won the NFL championship, but a separate knee injury in training camp ended his career before it began. Madden later revealed that he developed an affinity for teaching football by studying film with then-Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin while injured.

First coaching gigs

Madden’s first job came at Allan Hancock College, a community college in Santa Maria, California, in 1960. After two years as an assistant, he was promoted to head coach, leading the team from 1962-1963. With his name on the map, San Diego State came calling in 1964, naming him defensive coordinator — a post he held from 1964-1966 under future College Football Hall of Famer Don Coryell.

Stardom with the Raiders

Then based in Oakland as part of the yet-to-be-merged AFL, the Raiders hired Madden as their linebackers coach in 1967, and he helped the team advance to Super Bowl II in his first year. By 1969, after head coach John Rauch’s resignation, Madden…


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