Hall of Fame coach, NFL media icon mourned
NEW YORK — John Madden was larger than life. He was everywhere.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan fondly remembers Madden, who died Tuesday at age 85, bringing his trademark “Boom!” phrase to the advertising world.
“He was the man with the cure for athlete’s foot, man. It was the ‘Boom, Tough Actin’ Tinactin’,” Ryan told reporters Wednesday.
NFL great and Fox broadcaster Troy Aikman mostly remembers the man.
“John Madden was a treasure. He was a gift. And he was an incredible friend,” Aikman tweeted.
And while younger generations mostly associated the word “Madden” with the famous NFL video game, Giants coach Joe Judge explained Madden’s NFL legacy as a great Raiders coach to his Giants players on Wednesday morning.
“I have two young sons, they play the Madden football game all the time, as do a lot of our players, and you have to educate them sometimes,” Judge said. “They don’t really realize who the guy was, how accomplished a coach he was, how he really changed a lot of the broadcasting. But then even more important as I talked to the players this morning, the impact he had on the game by really the compassion and care he had for the players.”
“It was looking after his own players when they were done playing,” Judge added, “and the impact he’s had pushing around the league for different rules being changed and things to take into consideration with the healthcare of players, and taking care of the older players with benefits. The things that he’s done for the players that sat in the seats looking at us today — really his greatest impact was for the players on the field when he was already off the field himself.”
To Judge’s point, Buccaneers corner Richard Sherman paid homage to Madden by posting a photo of himself on the cover of the Madden game when he was dominating with the Seattle Seahawks.
“R.I.P. to John Madden,” Sherman wrote. “It was one of my greatest honors to grace the cover of your video game. Thank you for the years of joy and motivation.”
Retired legend Peyton Manning, however, summarized just how revered Madden was and how influential he was in the game.
“My grandfather always loved John Madden,” Manning wrote in a statement. “My rookie year, he was always asking if Madden and Summerall were going to broadcast one of the Colts games. I said ‘Pa-Pa, the Colts are 2-8 and we are playing the Bengals who are 3-7. Madden and Summerall don’t do those games.’”
But the next year, when the Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys, Madden and Summerall were on the call.
“My grandfather was so excited,” Manning said. “We won the game that day, and John Madden said, ‘the Colts are on their way.’ It’s one thing for a fan to say the Colts are on their way. When John Madden says that, that meant something.”
Judge channeled Madden’s appreciation for the game on Wednesday to motivate his team, it seemed, to keep their feet on the gas these last two weeks even though they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs.
“The expectations and the competitiveness, that
doesn’t change,” Judge said. “We’re not negotiating or compromising our standards around here. Every game is important, it’s the National Football League. We all lost John Madden last night. One thing John Madden was great about, when you really sit back and you listen to some of the things that he said throughout his career, he talked about the importance of every game and every opportunity in the National Football League, and the value of the opportunity that we have to coach or play in this league.”
“None of that should be taken for granted,” Judge said. “I hear people all the time say ‘meaningless games.’ What is a meaningless game? Everyone here has worked very hard to be in this position, to play or coach in this league. We’re only guaranteed or promised so many games a year. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to go out here and compete. There’s no such thing as a meaningless game. There’s wasted effort, there’s wasted preparation, but there are no meaningless games.”
Boom. He’s got that right.