The passing of John Madden shouldn’t be shocking given that he was 85 years old. Somehow, it still is. It’s like losing your grandfather, who was always the rock of the family no matter what. You just took it for granted that they’d always be there until one day the inevitable happened and they were gone.
The Madden I grew up with was long done coaching. Even though I wasn’t lucky enough to get to see it, I can imagine how amazing it was. His record as the Raiders’ head coach was an astounding 103-32-7, and you know what? I take it back. I can’t imagine how amazing that would have been to live through. That’s so good, I can’t even imagine it honestly.
Instead of getting to watch that amazing era of Raiders football, I get some pretty great memories of his game-announcing. Not an even trade by any means, but still pretty special to grow up with his voice every Sunday.
He is the most legendary color commentator of all time, and of course, his name is on my favorite video game year after year. I won’t forget either. Long gone are the days of hearing his famous “Boom” catchphrase, and my playing of Madden video games too, for that matter, but that doesn’t change the memories I’ll cherish forever.
Losing John Madden now though, it’s another massive hit to take on this ridiculous year for the Raiders. Just when the team was reinstated into a legitimate playoff run, “Boom” we lose our grandfather of Raider Nation. There has never been a year like this in my 36 years of life as a Raiders fan, and I never want to see another one like it in however long I have left on this earth.
The Raiders need to do it for John
Despite everything, the Raiders have two games left, and if they win them, they will make the playoffs. That’s unbelievable to be able to say in this moment after the roller coaster ride from Hell this season has been.
It’s going to take a monumental effort to actually take advantage of this opportunity. The Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers are both very good teams and trying to get into the playoffs themselves. Beating either one of them is a tough ask. Beating both of them? Very though.
Still, that’s why you play the games. The impossible can happen on any given Sunday. Madden himself preached this to generation after generation of football fans. The man never gave up as the coach of the Raiders, and he deserves that same respect in remembrance now.
This is the epitome of “win one for the Gipper for the Raiders.” In fact, it’s actually win two for the Gipper. There has never been a harder season for the Raiders, not ever. This season has been utterly incredible, and not in a good way. That’s what would make reaching the playoffs so magnificent.
It’s so improbable, so against the odds, that they shouldn’t even be this close to being able to do it. It’s exactly the type of football moment that Madden lived for, and there is no better way to honor that amazing life he lived.
Will it actually happen? Raider Nation has had their optimism beaten out of them for a long time in anticipation of times like this, but only time will tell. Still, it would be absolutely beautiful if they could do it.
That would be the most fitting way to say goodbye to one of the most legendary Raiders of all time. Madden has died, but his presence will forever be a part of the Raider mystique. There is no better way to honor him than by making the playoffs in his memory.
Rest In Peace, John Madden. Thank you for the memories. I hope you enjoy once again watching the Raiders by Al Davis’s side.