The NFL unexpectedly lost one of the most pivotal people in the history of the game on Tuesday when it was announced that Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden died at the age of 85.
NFL Commission Roger Goodell incapsulated Madden's impact in his statement on the legend's passing: "He was football."
Madden's death prompted an immediate outpouring of emotion from the football world at large Tuesday evening.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
"On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Virginia, Mike, Joe and their families. We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
"Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football. He was an incredible sounding board to me and so many others. There will never be another John Madden, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the NFL what it is today."
Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Coach Madden. Few, if any, have had as great an impact on the sport of professional football on so many different levels as Coach Madden. He was first and foremost a coach. He was a coach on the field, a coach in the broadcast booth and a coach in life.
"He was dearly loved by millions of football fans worldwide.
"While it's a very sad day, it's also a day we should celebrate the life of a man who brought joy through the game of football to millions.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Madden's wife, Virginia; their sons, Joe and Mike; and the entire Madden family during this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will forever guard Coach Madden's legacy. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in his memory."
Statement from Las Vegas Raiders
"The Raiders Family is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary John Madden.
"Few individuals meant as much to the growth and popularity of professional football as Coach Madden, whose impact on the game both on and off the field was immeasurable.
"Hired as Head Coach of the Raiders by Al Davis at the age of just 32, Madden coached the Silver and Black for 10 seasons and compiled a remarkable 103-32-7 regular season record. From 1969-78, the Raiders posted winning records in each season, won seven division titles and qualified for the playoffs eight times. In 1976, Madden coached the Raiders to a 13-1 record and a 32-14 triumph over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, marking the franchise's first World Championship of Professional Football.
"As professional football grew in popularity and influence, Madden and his Silver and Black teams played a significant role in some of the AFL and NFL's seminal moments, including the "Sea of Hands," "Immaculate Reception," "Holy Roller" and "Ghost to the Post," among others. Madden cemented his role as a football icon in the broadcast booth, serving as a leading color analyst for all four major television networks—CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC. His work on Monday Night Football, the inception of the annual All-Madden Team and his role in the Madden NFL series of video games made the Madden name synonymous with pro football.
"In 2006, Madden was presented for enshrinement to the Pro Football Hall of Fame by Al Davis, who opened his speech by calling Madden, "A brilliant coach. A loyal and trusted friend. A Raider." The thoughts and prayers of the Raider Nation are with Virginia, Joseph, Michael and the entire Madden family at this time."
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
"This is a loss that is as big as the legacy that John Madden created. A legacy of love. Love for family, for football and for life.
"I am not aware of anyone who has made a more meaningful impact on the National Football League than John Madden, and I know of no one who loved the game more.
"When I think of a person of sports who is worthy of the term, "larger than life," I have always thought of John. And I always will.
"If you knew John, he made your life better. For me he was a trusted confidant, advisor, a teacher and above all, a very dear friend. When he walked into the room, it was a better day. When he talked, you listened, and you learned. When he laughed, everyone in the room laughed. And when he got back on the bus to leave, you always wanted more. You were always looking forward to his next visit.
"Our hearts go out to Virginia and Joe and Mike and the grandchildren. He is survived by a wonderful family and literally millions of loved ones.
"A life in football is a gift and a blessing. John lived all of his days with dignity, kindness and a sense of personal caring for everything and everyone.
"There is no one who lived a more beautiful football life than John Madden."
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick
"Our condolences to the Madden family. It's a huge loss for the NFL, professional football. John is just a tremendous person to be around. I think we all probably set out to try to have a good professional career, and John had about five of them. He set the standard for coaching in his era, he had the best record, the best teams, championships and all that, the Raiders had a great style of play. It was very captivating and certainly did a lot for the league and the competitiveness of the league. He was a great champion for minorities and minority scouting. Some of the great players they have at the Raiders from the smaller black colleges that he and coach Davis brought into the organization. Then he moved to broadcasting and increased the popularity of the game, singlehandedly, quite a bit. I don't know how you'd ever measure that. I think everybody that played football enjoyed John's commentary. A lot of people who probably didn't even care about football found John entertaining and watched football because of him. He brought a lot of people to the game. He brought a perspective to the game that was very unique but loved by all."
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid
"He taught us the game in a very simple way. To the point to where everyone felt like they could go play."
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr
"Throughout the years, every time he was round he was such an amazing man, so kind. Everyone always said he was a coach, he was definitely always a coach. I didn't have any personal stories or anything like that. I know that my uncle actually got in a fight in training camp one year and coach Madden ran over to stop it and he slipped in the mud and got all muddy, and so my uncle thinks that's one of the reason he got cut one of the times. It's cool family stories for us to share and talk about. I didn't know him personally but when he was round, being able to talk to him and see him was pretty cool. He has such a a legacy. Obviously, the kids and everybody nowadays thinks about the video game and all those things and the legacy he's left there, but what he was able to with his career was pretty awesome as well."
Former Raiders coach Tom Flores
"It's a sad day when you lose a friend. I've spent more time with John in my years as an assistant coach than I did with my family. We spent a lot of time together. ... John was a very demonstrative, passionate coach during practices, games. He was a teacher by trade and became an excellent learner. When I came to him with something I thought would work during the game, if he liked it he absorbed it right away."
Fellow 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Warren Moon
"John was just one of those guys that just loved football. He called the Hall of Fame a football heaven. So he just loved being there, being around all that history, being around all of those former players, current players, former coaches, current coaches, he just loved that whole atmosphere, and he just loved and enjoyed talking football. So, again, he just kept everybody really loose that weekend whenever you were around him, and that's when I got a chance to really get to know him that weekend, because we had some really good talks, just about strategy, about football rules, rule changes, things like that. He was just a really neat guy to talk to if you love football."
Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera
"He would tie in a story of something he had gone through so he related those things to you and made it so you could understand it from practical experience. His knowledge wasn't guessing; he had gone through those things."
Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott
"True ambassador for NFL. If you look up coach in dictionary, you'll find picture of John Madden. A guy who did it right."
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh
"This is, some might argue, the greatest coach. (He had) a 40-, 50-, 60-year impact on generations of football fans."
Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith
"My first experience in learning who John Madden was was from the video games, and you're watching him and Pat Summerall and that felt like a big game every time they announced it. ... He had an enormous impact on the National Football League and he'll be missed. He had aa heck of an impact on the game."
Houston Texans coach David Culley
"As I was growing up I was an Oakland Raiders fan all the way back to when he was coaching there, and always have been. I love what they're all about, from Al Davis to John Madden. He's always, to me, represented what an NFL coach is supposed to be about in this business. He carried himself that way. Once he retired from coaching, I think he only coached about 10 years in the game, he went into broadcasting. In broadcasting, he became a must-see on Monday Night Football. Any time he was announcing, it was just as important to hear what he had to say as much as watching the game. But he was a big influence and I love what he represented and what he was all about."
Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores
"He's up there on the Mount Everest of coaching."