The football coach and broadcaster has been the face of Madden NFL for more than three decades. The pro football video game continues to be a top-seller and is among the most successful franchises in history.
Originally released on the Apple II, the game play encountered issues because of its weak operating system that limited the amount of players present on the screen. After Madden signed on, the famous broadcaster immediately went to work, demanding the programmers change the 7-on-7 format to “real” 11-on-11 football.
“John Madden Football” was its original title for the first five years before the NFL added its name to it in 1993, allowing EA to use team names and logos. It was the first version to feature the slogan “EA Sports — It’s in the game.”
The video game eventually shifted away from featuring Madden’s face on the cover in 2000 and instead focused on popular NFL players. Madden’s voice was still featured prominently in the game.
The game’s popularity grew, as did the number of consoles it was available for — including a Sony PlayStation compatible version, which was released in 1996. By 2001, the game was on all major consoles such as the XBox and GameCube.In 2005, it became the exclusive video game to feature NFL property, beating out a similar ESPN game.
In a statement released by EA, the company said they lost a “hero.”
“John Madden was synonymous with the sport of football for more than 50 years. His knowledge of the game was second only to his love for it, and his appreciation for everyone that ever stepped on the gridiron. A humble champion, a willing teacher, and forever a coach,” EA said in a statement posted on Twitter.