John Madden was born on April 10, 1936 in Austin, Minnesota and was raised in California. In 1957 and 1958, he was both an offensive and defensive tackle at California Polytechnic College and a catcher on the baseball team. He received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree and was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL draft. His playing career ended rather quickly though, as he suffered a knee injury during his first year.
Madden then moved to coaching, and was the head coach of Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria, California from 1960 to 1964. He then moved on to be the defensive coordinator of the San Diego State Aztecs until 1966, when he became a linebacker coach with the Oakland Raiders. He moved into the head coaching position in 1969 and led the Raiders to seven AFC Western Division titles and one Super Bowl victory, with a record of 103-32-7. He has the highest winning percentage (75%) of any coach in the history of the NFL.
Madden retired in 1979 and joined CBS as a football broadcaster the next year. He is now in his 23rd season as an analyst and has been named Sports Personality of the Year by the American Sportscasters Association three times along with winning 13 Outstanding Sports Personality/Analyst Emmy Awards. He currently works on ABC as an analyst on Monday Night Football.
Now let’s move on to the part most of you have been waiting for, the video games. Legend has it that, in the mid 80’s, EA CEO Trip Hawkins (who later left the company to form the now-bankrupt 3DO) approached Madden in a parking lot after a game to try and sell the concept for Madden NFL Football. Hawkins succeeded and the first game was released on the Apple II in 1989.
Before Madden NFL Football came around, sports games were in a pretty sorry shape. The leagues weren’t willing to license games, so most featured no-name players and generic titles, as the majority of players and celebrities didn’t really care about video games. They were mostly one-time shots as well; the idea of selling what was essentially the same game to a consumer each year was preposterous. (Obviously, developers had more respect for gamers’ intelligence back then.) Madden changed all that and established on of the longest running franchises in gaming history.
Previously, John Madden also advertised the Atari 2600 games Wizard of Wor and GORF.
Last updated: Oct 03, 2004