It’s impossible to sum up John Madden in a single post so I won’t even try. I’m not sure there is a person out there that is more important to the entire sport than Madden. Genuinely. He wasn’t a coach for very long, but he was a legendary coach even to this day. He was the voice of football for 30 years. The video game he lent his likeness to and helped get made is arguably the most important sports game ever made, and is now the flagship video game for football. He was instantly recognizable in any setting with his booming voice and his enormous frame. Other people may have played a role in making football the institution it is today, but I think from a cultural perspective, John Madden is it. He’s the guy. John Madden is football.

I only really knew him as an announcer. I grew up in the 90’s and he was just the voice on TV. He was funny and would draw penises by accident on his screen while explaining routes. He just sounded like a jolly giant of a person and no story I can find of the guy makes it seem like he was anything other than just a great dude. It’s telling when someone like that passes. I’m a heavy twitter user (not recommended, it is hellsite) and anytime a celebrity dies you’ll find a legion of the contrarian types who want attention so they make a point to talk about the bad stuff that celebrity is at fault for. Madden had none. Nobody pointing out that oh, he hit his wife once or something. The worst takes I saw were that his involvement in the video game franchise helped normalize concussions, which is a galaxy brain stretch of a take to have. Again, if you are not already on twitter, do not use twitter. It shatters your brain. The point is, John Madden seems like a legend that deserves to be the legend he is.

He’s been out of the general public eye since he left broadcasting and the booth is worse without him. For all his quirks that people would make fun of (his love of food, the drawn penises, the BOOMs), he was genuinely great at communicating how the game worked to people. Sure, once you understood football on a deeper level it could seem a little rudimentary as commentary, but we were all a novice once, and Madden probably did more to help America understand football than anyone else did.

Rest in peace, John. We are going to remember you for a long, long time.