John Madden watched Fox Sports documentary days before death

John Madden watched his Fox Sports documentary, “All Madden,” days before he died, the program’s directors, Tom Rinaldi and Joel Santos, told USA Today Sports.

“John asked to see it,” Santos said Wednesday in a joint interview with Rinaldi. “It was our wish to make it a gift for him and his family on Christmas Day.”

Madden spent Christmas Day surrounded by friends and family as they watched the documentary about the Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster’s life and legacy.

Madden died three days after he saw it. He was 85.

“We are truly stunned by the timing and heartbroken by it,” Rinaldi said. “The other side of our sorrow is our incredible gratitude that John was able to see this.”

John Madden in 2015

Santos said that Madden was “really blown away” by the documentary, and that “it made [Madden] realize his impact and the fact that so many people loved him.”

Though, the directors, who called the documentary a “love letter” to Madden, said the NFL legend had one critique about it.

John Madden coaching the Raiders in 1978
John Madden coaching the Raiders in 1978

“He made a joke about the one thing he didn’t like… (Raiders star) Dave Casper calling him a cartoon character,” Santos recalled, adding, “He was a jokester.”

Rinaldi said, “Now that John has passed, I don’t think I’m overstepping by saying that every one of those people that sat down with us and shared their time, their thoughts, and their hearts, feel all the greater for having done so.”

The NFL said Madden died unexpectedly and did not reveal a cause of death.

"All Madden" premiered on Christmas
“All Madden” premiered on Christmas
Fox Sports

The sports world, including athletes from various leagues, continue to share messages of condolences and support to Madden’s loved ones.

“All Madden” features in-depth interviews with the football and pop culture icon from this year and also with his wife, Virginia, and sons, Joseph and Michael. 

The couple’s 62nd wedding anniversary was two days before his death.