John Madden's son speaks ahead of dad's memorial
OAKLAND, Calif. - NFL legend and Bay Area native John Madden will be honored Monday night in Oakland at a public memorial called "One More Monday Night."
Madden died Dec. 28 at his Pleasanton home. He was 85.
Sport fans revere him as the Hall of Fame coach who led the Oakland Raiders to 10 winning seasons, and the Raider's first Super Bowl title in 1977.
Around the country, Madden is also known as a famed NFL broadcaster, and for younger fans, the hugely popular Madden video games.
Watch the memorial live on KTVU.com Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. by clicking here.
Madden's son, Mike Madden spoke with KTVU over the weekend to talk about his father's legacy. The setting was apropos: Mike Madden spoke from Los Angeles, where he was watching the Super Bowl with a loving community of football friends and fans, something his father would have loved.
"The way that I've been kind of treated around town the last few days, everybody got a story everybody's got a connection," Mike Madden said. "It's really heartwarming, it makes me miss him all the more."
He described how his father grew up in Daly City, attending Jefferson High School and stealing into the old Seals Stadium in San Francisco to see games when he was young. His father also was a caddy at the San Francisco Golf Club and once snuck into the Civic Auditorium to watch a Sugar Ray Robinson fight – stories he's heard many times and have become part of his father's legendary lore.
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"He was a Peninsula guy growing up," his son said, adding that he is moved at how many lives of others his father touched.
His father went on to attend Cal Poly in the 1950s and then first coached at San Diego State before taking over at the Oakland Raiders from 1969 to 1978, where they never lost a season under his guidance.
Madden gained fame in a decade-long stint as the coach of the renegade Oakland Raiders, making it to seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl following the 1976 season. He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percentage is the best among NFL coaches with more than 100 games.
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But it was his work after prematurely retiring as coach at age 42 that made Madden truly a household name. He educated a football nation with his use of the telestrator on broadcasts; entertained millions with his interjections of "Boom!" and "Doink!" throughout games; was an omnipresent pitchman selling restaurants, hardware stores and beer; became the face of "Madden NFL Football," one of the most successful sports video games of all-time; and was a best-selling author.
Most of all, he was the preeminent television sports analyst for most of his three decades calling games, winning an unprecedented 16 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports analyst/personality, and covering 11 Super Bowls for four networks from 1979-2009.
And it seemed as if everybody knew him. Even if they weren't sports fans.
Burly and a little unkempt, Madden earned a place in America’s heart with a likable, unpretentious style that was refreshing in a sports world of spiraling salaries and prima donna stars. He rode from game to game in his own bus because he suffered from claustrophobia and had stopped flying. For a time, Madden gave out a "turducken" — a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey — to the outstanding player in the Thanksgiving game that he called.
"Everybody's got a story got a connection," Mike Madden said. "He was so generous to so many. It's been overwhelming, just the sentiments that have come back to me in the last couple of days."
Mike Madden's memories include growing up in the 1970s, playing football and going to the Oakland Coliseum on Sundays, having access to the "greatest players in football."
"It was pretty cool," Mike Madden reminisched. "It was pretty special growing up in that environment."
The public memorial is at 5:30 p.m. at the Coliseum at 7000 Coliseum Way, where he coached the Raiders for nearly a decade.
KTVU's Claudine Wong and the Associated Press contributed to this report.