John Madden, one of the most ubiquitous names in football over the last six decades, died Tuesday at the age of 85.
A certain generation knows him best as the voice of the popular “Madden NFL” video-game franchise, but Madden also made an enormous impact as a Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster. After serving as the head coach of the Raiders for 10 seasons (1969-1978), a run that included a win in Super Bowl XI, Madden became known for his use of the telestrator and ability to bring an Everyman sensibility to the broadcast booth.
one thing about madden as broadcaster was how personable he was while retaining the gravitas that came from being a championship-winning coach. clearly from a time when coaches were seen more as teachers than ceo’s.
— bomani (@bomani_jones) December 29, 2021
MORE: Sports world reacts to death of John Madden
Football fans grew to love the sound of Madden’s famous “Boom!” calls during NFL games, but he dropped plenty of other gems throughout his life. And a lot of them had nothing to do with football.
Here are some of the best quotes from Madden’s career.
1. John Madden on buckets
“The bucket, that’s how big it is. Third year in the league. Then you ask questions like, ‘Is it married?’
And it’s like, ‘Yeah, bucket’s married.’
‘You got a family?’
‘Yeah, I got a baby bucket’
And then brought the ice because we’re in California.
Family.” – John Madden pic.twitter.com/HAjLy1FGLv
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) December 29, 2021
Madden, along with play-by-play announcer Pat Summerall, were calling a game in the 1980s near the advent of the Gatorade shower. The tradition was three years old, and a third bucket had been added to a team’s sideline. That prompted Madden to refer to the three buckets as a family and diagram which bucket would get poured on which player.
2. John Madden on Troy Aikman’s (lack of) facial hair
Aikman was a few years into his career at this point, but that didn’t stop him from being subjected to a few jokes from Madden. Notably, Madden poked fun at Aikman’s inability to grow a beard and helped him out by drawing one on his face during the broadcast.
3. John Madden on this bug
Madden was a master at personification. During a game in which a bug landed on the camera, Madden took the time to pay homage to the bug and gave us insight into what the bug might’ve been thinking.
4. John Madden on body heat
when watching old NFL games on YouTube out of boredom last summer, I ended up coming across some amazing John Madden clips and quotes.
He was constantly entertaining and also constantly insightful.
RIP to the legend. pic.twitter.com/7Fef78ppMt
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 29, 2021
Ever the teacher, Madden didn’t just impart football wisdom to the viewing public. He also gave fans a biology lesson, letting them know how heat escapes from the body after former Cowboys guard Nate Newton took off his helmet.
MORE: How John Madden started NFL’s Turkey Leg tradition
5. John Madden on the turducken
John Madden was a coaching legend but was also a genius as a commentator
I can’t imagine how many people became NFL fans because he made it more entertaining
Thanksgiving as a child was even more fun thanks to his energy, creativity & love for the gamepic.twitter.com/hhIID8G0YB
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 29, 2021
Madden helped start a tradition of NFL players being awarded with turkey legs after performing well on Thanksgiving Day games. But it’s clear where Madden’s true avian passions lied — with the turducken, a combination turkey, chicken and duck.
6. John Madden on Tom Brady
Playing in Super Bowl XXXVI, Tom Brady was leading the Patriots on a late drive against the Rams. Brady got the Pats into field-goal range, and Adam Vinatieri drilled the kick to give New England a 20-17 win. It was Brady’s first Super Bowl victory, and his heroics elicited major praise from Madden.
7. John Madden on being a Packers fan
“I think to be a Packer fan you have to be willing to put stuff on your head. If you love the Packers and you want to show that you love the Packers, put stuff on your head.” #Maddenisms
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) January 8, 2020
ESPN contributor J.A. Adande compiled a thread of some his favorite “Maddenisms” through the years, and while there are many great options, Madden’s thoughts on Green Bay certainly stand out.
8. John Madden on getting into coaching
“A coach is just a guy whose best class in grammar school was recess and whose best class in high school was P.E. I never thought I was anything but a guy whose best class was P.E.” – John Madden
— 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐧 𝐆𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐬𝐨𝐧 (@JRGrayson) December 29, 2021
Madden never took himself too seriously. This is the perfect example of how he could be hilariously self-deprecating.
BENDER: John Madden made NFL fun for every generation
9. John Madden and Pat Summerall in ‘The Replacements’
In addition to his broadcasting career, Madden also cut his teeth as an actor and had roles in several football-related movies, including “The Replacements.” It may not be a singular quote, but this exchange is too good not to share.
10. John Madden on his fear of flying
Madden, who notoriously hated flying, opted to travel the country by bus. Madden noted that traveling by bus, in addition to helping with his claustrophobia, allowed him to slow down and really see more things.