PLEASANTON, Calif. (BVM) – The sports world sadly mourned NFL icon John Madden’s death in late December. But from this sadness and grief comes new hope for the future. The famed Oakland Raiders coach with a booming voice and larger-than-life presence left an extraordinary legacy.
His epic 10-year coaching run reached its peak as Oakland captured their first Super Bowl title in 1977. Madden then walked away in 1979 with the top winning percentage in modern NFL history. He kicked off a historic announcing career with CBS soon after. This move in effect would alter the course of NFL history.
From industry-wide acclaim he won as a TV broadcaster to groundbreaking work with EA Sports, Madden would leave a huge imprint on the game. His magic touched and electrified the virtual gaming world as Electronic Arts has sold more than 250 million copies of the Madden NFL series.
Coach Madden was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He wrapped up his illustrious career as an announcer three years later. Now the family honors him by keeping his spirit alive.
John and Virginia Madden’s eldest son Mike followed his father’s path into football. Mike Madden suited up at wide receiver for Harvard University in the mid-1980s. Mike’s younger brother Joe also played at Brown University and has coached the game as well. The family’s love and passion for football guides them to this day. Today, a third-generation Madden leads the way.
Mike’s son Jesse is currently a sophomore quarterback at the University of Michigan. Jesse earned an invitation as a preferred walk-on at Michigan from head coach Jim Harbaugh and has since solidified his spot on the Wolverines’ roster.
For Jesse’s senior year as field general at Oakland, California’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, his dad Mike joined the Dragons’ coaching staff.
“I made sure my first hire was his dad,” Bishop O’Dowd head coach David Perry said. “I said, ‘Mike, you’re going to be the offensive line coach.’ He kind of looked at me with that grin, that Mike Madden grin and he said, ‘You want me to protect my son, don’t you?’”
His grandpa once revealed that Jesse “always had a ball in his hand” growing up. By all indications, Jesse is a true football savant. And Perry can verify as much.
“He just has this depth of knowledge of offensive pass concepts, knowledge of offensive schemes,” Perry said. “It was kind of unreal for me as a coach. … He was a coach on the field. He knew just as much as a lot of coaches that are out there so it was pretty amazing to watch.”
Perry added that the young signal caller’s devotion was his greatest quality.
“I’d say love of the game,” Perry said. “He was a kid that, he loved football so much that he was willing to do whatever it took to be successful, to help his teammates be successful. And he found ways to challenge people still in a loving way where he would get other people around him to raise their level of play. I think it was just because he loves this beautiful game so much.”
Family patriarch John and wife Virginia set up Madden Charities Inc. back in 1987. They have supported a number of worthy causes over the past few decades. The most recent effort includes subsidizing scholarships for Bay Area student-athletes.
No matter where Jesse lands in the future, he will honor the memory of his grandfather. His own successes, both in sports and life, represent the living legacy of John Madden.
“Like I said the kid is a coach,” Perry said of Jesse. “He’s definitely going to be a coach one day.”