Did john madden play football ? Many remember John Madden as the coach, the commentator, and the face of the Madden video game. However, not many remember him as an NFL player.
It is common for players to become coaches after their time in the NFL ends. Since Madden was a coach, does that mean he played in the league as well?
John Madden’s brief spell as an NFL player
John Madden did, indeed, play football at the professional level. However, his career as a player was short-lived.
According to CBS Sports, he was drafted with the 244th overall pick of the 1958 Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, Madden didn’t even get to play in a regular-season game. He reportedly suffered a knee injury during rookie training camp, and his time in the NFL essentially ended when that happened. While undergoing rehabilitation for the injury, Madden spent time watching film with Norm Van Brocklin.
Van Brocklin, the still-reigning record holder for passing yards in a game, taught Madden a lot of what he knew. According to the latter’s own account, Van Brocklin gave him “the greatest education” he ever had.
Two years later, Madden was breaking into the coaching ranks. He started out as a college coach at the age of 24, according to Pro Football Reference. In another two years, Madden was the head coach of Allan Hancock College. In 1964, Madden became the defensive coordinator for San Diego State.
In 1967, after three years of coaching in San Diego, Madden broke back into the NFL as a linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders. Two years later, in 1969, Madden became the head coach of the Raiders. He went on to go 103-32-7 in the following 10 years, winning a Super Bowl and missing the playoffs only once in that span.
After his time coaching in the NFL came to a close in 1978, Madden moved into the broadcast booth, where he would commentate for 30 years before retiring in 2009. In a move that would make him immortal, Madden’s name was adopted to be used in a football video game franchise that is now one of the most profitable of all time.
Madden passed away on Tuesday, December 28, 2021. He was 85 years old.
Did John Madden Ever Play in the NFL?
One could easily argue that not a single person is more synonymous with the NFL than John Madden. I mean, would anybody outside of Green Bay really be upset if the Super Bowl winner was awarded the John Madden Trophy instead of the Vince Lombardi Trophy?
Okay, perhaps that’s a little much, but I think you get the gist, as the Minnesota native made his mark on the game of football in so many ways.
Madden spent a decade as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1969 to 1978 and owns the highest winning percentage of anyone who coached at least 100 games, going 103-32-7 in 142 regular-season contests. He also won nine of 16 postseason games and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl title following the 1976 season.
Upon leaving the sidelines, he immediately went into broadcasting and worked for all four major networks (CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC) over the course of three decades. Madden called his final game on February 1, 2009, the Super Bowl 43 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, his eighth Super Bowl as a broadcaster. During his 30-year career in the booth, he won 16 Sports Emmy Awards.
A few years before his retirement, Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2006.
And we certainly can’t forget about his contributions to the world of video games, as the Madden NFL series from EA Sports is one of the top-selling sports games of all time. And this is the only way some younger folks even know who he is at all.
So as you can see, John Madden did just about everything you can do in football — well, except play an NFL game, that is.
John Madden was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but suffered a knee injury that kept him from ever playing an NFL game
The Madden family moved from Minnesota to California when John was young, and he became a star athlete for Jefferson High School in Daly City, playing football, baseball, and basketball.
Despite receiving minor league baseball offers from both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Madden chose to continue his football career, first spending a year at the College of San Mateo before transferring to the University of Oregon, where he was redshirted after undergoing a knee operation.
Not enjoying his time in Eugene, he returned to San Mateo for a short time before resuming his football career at Grays Harbor College in the fall of 1956. Madden transferred yet again in 1957, enrolling at California Polytechnic College at San Luis Obispo, where he started on both the offensive and defensive lines.
He was a first-team all-conference selection as an offensive tackle in his first year, and ahead of his senior season in 1958, Madden was selected as what was then known as a future choice in the 21st round of the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, meaning Philly owned his rights in the pros, but he could continue his college career.
He was again an all-conference selection in his second season at Cal Poly despite suffering a season-ending collarbone injury with four games remaining. However, he healed in time to participate in the All-American Bowl in January 1959 and was praised for his performance.
Unfortunately, Madden suffered a severe knee injury during training camp with the Eagles, thus ending his playing career before he ever got the chance to play an official NFL game. However, it was during his rehab that he learned how much he enjoyed watching game film as he would study tape with quarterback Norm Van Brocklin.
John Madden football
Like every other player hopeful of making it to the top of the professional game, Madden played high school and college football.
He started out at Jefferson High School in California, before joining the college system at 18 in 1954.
Madden played his college game as an offensive tackle, and was given a University of Oregon scholarship to play football.
However, he lost it due to a serious knee injury, and drifted around teams during the late 1950s.
At California Polytechnic, he also played on the baseball team as a catcher.
In 1958, Madden was finally drafted to the NFL itself – signing as a 21st round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles.
NFL career ends before it starts
Unfortunately for Madden, he never made a single appearance for the Eagles in the NFL.
In his very first training camp with the team, he sustained another serious knee injury.
It ended his active playing career, meaning John Madden never got the chance to play professional football.
Madden still involved in football
Despite the injury, Madden moving quickly into coaching with Allan Hancock College in 1960.
By 1967 he was Oakland Raiders Linebackers coach, moving up to Head coach in 1969.
In 1977, he won Super Bowl XI with the Raiders, retiring a year later in 1978 from coaching duties.
His record stood at 103-32-7, the second most successful coach of all-time in terms of winning percentage.
That stands at .759, second only to Guy Chamberlain’s 0.784 – set between 1922 and 1927.
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