John Madden taught us more than football

The sports world lost a true legend yesterday, when John Madden passed away at age 85.

Madden, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, coached the Oakland Raiders for 10 years, logging a record of 103-32-7. That’s the highest winning percentage among all coaches with at least 100 wins.

Madden, however, is probably best known for his work as a commentator during NFL games, something he did for three decades.

His style was unmistakable. Madden’s larger-than-life enthusiasm came through as he described hits with a “Boom!” or a fumble as “Doink!” He loved great plays and great players. And he knew the game better than anyone.

Perhaps his greatest asset, and reason for success, was his authenticity. By all accounts, what you saw on television was the real John Madden, a regular guy who loved football. NBC commentator Chris Collinsworth shared stories about Madden this morning on Today–how he’d talk football with strangers in hotel lobbies, or diagram plays on the dining room table for Collinsworth’s sons.

Madden was the guy you wanted to invite over to watch a game. And we did, every week, for 30 years.

RIP Coach.

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