Pro sports world thanks late NFL icon John Madden for his legacy, inspiration in football and beyond

ByChris Alvarez and Julianne Herrera KGO logo
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Pro sports world heartbroken by death of NFL icon John Madden
It's not just the NFL feeling the loss of John Madden. From the MLB to the NBA, the entire world of pro sports is mourning his death.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- NFL icon John Madden passed away Tuesday, a loss that is felt not just in professional football, but in sports across the board.

His death was announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who says Madden "was football," and "we will forever be in his debt" for his contributions to the sport. He was 85 years old.

From one legend to another, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, "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."

The San Francisco 49ers posted a tribute to the Bay Area native, calling him an icon and inspiration who "will never be forgotten," and 49ers great Jerry Rice said he is "a coaching and broadcasting legend and "loved by all."

The New Orleans Saints organization released a statement thanking Madden for what he did for their region:

Kansas City Chief's and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes called him a "legend" and offered condolences to the Madden family:

Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman described the honor he felt, being on the cover of the iconic Madden video game:

"When you think NFL football, you think John Madden," said former Patriots star receiver Julian Edelman.

The NFL posted a video, capturing some of Madden's moments in the booth, where he was "beloved by football fans everywhere."

Those who knew Madden say it wasn't just his career that was so impactful, but also the friendship he offered along the way.

"He was a friend before he was a coach," says former Raiders Senior Executive John Herrera. "He was always fun to be around."

The Raiders organization echoed these sentiments of Madden's friendship, hailing him as a "loyal and trusted friend. A Raider."

But news of his death is weighing heavily beyond the NFL, garnering responses from other pro sports leagues.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr went out of his way to address Madden's death during a press conference, describing him as an "incredible figure in American sports" and a "legend here in the Bay Area."

Warriors star Draymond Green said it was always about the "All Madden" team:

The San Jose Sharks sent a message of their condolences:

The San Francisco Giants say they are "saddened" to hear of his passing, and called him a "Bay Area Giant."

Legendary MLB broadcaster Vin Scully shared loving memories, "He showed me the ropes during our brief football partnership. He was always kind and delightful," and said, "He can now join his former partner, Pat Summerall, in calling Super Bowls in heaven."

NBA and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted Madden was the "goat," continuing, "Your legacy will continue to live on."

UFC President Dana White tweeted:

Even California Governor Gavin Newsom wrote a touching tribute, calling Madden an "excellent man," saying "he redefined the role of a sports broadcaster" with his voice anyone could recognize: