Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell remembers John Madden: 'He's a legend is what he is'

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John Madden left a Hall of Fame coaching career after 10 seasons and spent the next three decades as the voice of the NFL.

He reached generations of football fans through video games, and to Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell, he will always be "an icon in our profession."

"To do it the way he did it, you win a Super Bowl, you’re a successful coach and then you go on to — really, he’s the name everybody remembers when you come into broadcasting," Campbell said. "He’s one of those elite announcers, if you will. He’s embedded into the NFL, if you will, and Monday Night (Football) in particular.”

Madden died Tuesday at his home in California. He was 85.

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John Madden, the iconic NFL coach and broadcaster whose name is synonymous with football for several generations and who called both Super Bowls in Michigan on TV, died on Dec. 28 at the age of 85.
John Madden, the iconic NFL coach and broadcaster whose name is synonymous with football for several generations and who called both Super Bowls in Michigan on TV, died on Dec. 28 at the age of 85.

Campbell recalled Wednesday his first meeting with Madden in the early 2000s, when he was a player with the Dallas Cowboys and Madden was in the midst of his annual training camp tour — in the Madden Cruiser, no doubt — for ABC.

"He was over talking to (then-Dallas Cowboys) Coach (Bill) Parcells and that was the first time I got to meet him," Campbell said. "Of course, I was a huge fan of John Madden, so that was pretty good. That was pretty surreal. But obviously, a ton of respect and thoughts and prayers for his family. But he’s just one of those guys, he’s an icon in our profession."

Madden won seven division championships and one Super Bowl in his 10 seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

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He retired as the winningest coach in franchise history, then helped reinvent football as a television sport, delivering his color commentary in a distinct voice and with the help of his playful Telestrator.

Madden won 16 Sports Emmy Awards, including 15 for top analyst, and lent his name to a video game franchise that remains popular among players today.

"I think that’s one of those where he stood the test of time because of what you said," Campbell said. "Hell, he was all over the video games. He made them, so it didn’t matter. And I think there are a ton of guys that — shoot, young players, that’s how they know him, by the video game, not the announcer himself. He’s a legend is what he is."

Briefly

The Lions placed three more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, starters Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Michael Brockers and practice squad receiver Geronimo Allison. Under NFL-NFLPA guidelines, players must isolate for five days once they test positive for COVID, which means Vaitai and Brockers likely will miss Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Vaccinated players can return sooner if they test negative or have a virus load that makes them no longer contagious.

Fullback Jason Cabinda joined quarterback Jared Goff as the only Lions who did not practice Wednesday. Cabinda is expected to miss Sunday's game against the Seahawks with a knee injury. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin was limited with a shoulder injury, while running back D'Andre Swift (shoulder) and linebacker Julian Okwara (ankle) were full participants in practice.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dan Campbell remembers John Madden: 'He's a legend is what he is'