On Jan. 9, 1977, John Madden was hoisted up by his players after the Raiders won their first Super Bowl. And while he reached the summit of his profession at age 40, Madden was still in the early stages of an unparalleled football career that included 10 years as an NFL head coach and 30 additional years in broadcasting. Madden is also the name behind the most iconic football video game of all time.
Madden, who turned 85 earlier this year, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Upon retiring from broadcasting, Madden advised the NFL’s competition committee and safety panel. With a new documentary on his career set to air on Christmas Day, here are five things you may not know about Madden, a legendary coach and the voice of NFL Sunday’s for a generation of football fans.
1. Lifelong coaching friend
While he was born in Minnesota, Madden spent the majority of his childhood in Daly City, California. His best childhood friend was John Robinson, the former coach of USC and the Los Angeles Rams. Madden and Robinson both went to Oregon on football scholarships. While Robinson played four years for the Ducks, Madden eventually transferred to Cal Poly, where he became an all-conference offensive tackle. He also played catcher on the school’s baseball team.
“We were going to play for the Yankees in the summer and the 49ers in the winter,” Robinson said of he and Madden’s childhood dreams. “We began to realize that maybe this fabulous career wasn’t going to happen.”
While they never became household names as athletes, Madden and Robinson were two of the best coaches of their era. Madden became the seventh coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in 1976. Robinson compiled an 8-1 bowl record as a college coach that included a 4-0 record in Rose Bowl games. He also led the Rams to NFC Championship Game appearances in 1985 and 1989. Robinson’s first Rose Bowl win took…