John Madden is a finalist for the NFL Hall Of Fame, which begs the question......why hasn't he already been in the Hall?? I know that he isn't regarded as one of the great coaches [Walsh, Noll, Shula, Landry, Gibbs, Parcells, Halas]....but his reign in the 1970s was quite impressive. In his 10 years in Oakland, Madden's teams went 112-39-7 including a Super Bowl championship. Of all coaches with at least 100 wins...only Vince Lombardi has a higher winning percentage.
But his contributions to the game go above just those numbers. He rivals Howard Cosell as the best known NFL analyst ever....and eventually inheriting Cosell's old role on Monday Night Football. Despite the jokes about his mumbling and rambling nature of his talk....he spoke to us in a way that we would speak to each other about the game. He was one the first guys I saw that would really explain and delve into what offensive and defensive lineman do.
He worked with Pat Summerall on CBS for years. Then, he went with Summerall over to Fox to really set off Fox's sports climate. Remember, there were no sports really on Fox until the NFL got there. He then helped put back class to a Monday Night Football booth that suffered from critical hits jabbed at Dennis Miller [one of my favorite comedians]. Next year, he goes over to NBC to rejump their foray back into the NFL. All four major networks needed him to anchor their NFL coverage. Amazing.
And, to many people who are 30 and younger....Madden will be known best as the name before a number. Like Madden 06. Personally, I've bought every Madden game they made...back when it was called "NFL Showdown" [or something]. Though Madden never entered any code...he was very instrumental in the design of the game. How is should look, sound, feel and play. Now, playing Madden is darn near like watching a game on TV. Heck, there are freaking Madden leagues and even a major Madden 06 Tournament held every year.
All of these aspects of Madden's career helped boost the NFL into what it is today. I mean, his career numbers as a coach speak for themselves. But when you add in the impact of television...the popularity he brought to the game which raised revenues for both the league and the networks....the licensing rights for the league and the players union for video game sales....if basically helps you figure out why the NFL is the national pastime now.
So...again...why isn't he already in the Hall??