Why Did John Madden Retire From Coaching? A Legendary Career Into Broadcasting

John Madden had a legendary run during his time coaching the Raiders, but it ended after just 10 years. Why did the coach retire so soon?

John Madden put together one of the most successful 10-year runs in coaching history as the then-Oakland Raiders‘ leader before becoming renowned as a broadcaster and the namesake of EA’s NFL football game.

Why did Madden’s coaching career end so quickly?

Why Did John Madden Retire From Coaching?

Madden quickly rose to prominence during his days as the Raiders’ head coach, leading the franchise to a 12-1-1 record and AFC Championship Game appearance in his first year at the helm in 1969.

His teams never finished below .500 and never had fewer than eight wins in any given season. After some down years from his debut campaign, Madden led Oakland to four straight seasons of 10 or more wins from 1974-77, including a 12-2 campaign and AFC title game appearance in 1974.

That year was the first of four straight trips to the AFC Championship for the Raiders, which finally broke through to win Super Bowl 11 during the 1976 season. Oakland defeated the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 32-14 in the contest as Fred Biletnikoff took home the game’s MVP award.

Madden resigned from the Raiders’ lead gig just two years later in 1978 after the franchise went 9-7 and missed the playoffs for just the second time in his tenure. He cited burnout on the job along with an increasingly deteriorating ulcer condition as reasons for stepping away from coaching.

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“I’m retiring from football coaching, and I’m never going to coach again in my life,” Madden told reporters with tears in his eyes. “This type of thing is easy to talk about, but it’s never easy to do.

“To be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to do now, just take some time off. I have a wife and two children, and I’m going to do what they want to do for a change. I’ve never done that before.”

The move ended Madden’s legendary coaching career for good, leaving him with the league’s second-highest regular-season winning percentage among coaches who coached at least 50 games in the league at 75.9%. His all-time record is 112-39-7, including a 103-32-7 mark in regular-season games.

After retiring from coaching, Madden went on to have a long and successful career as a sports commentator with a variety of networks. His rise to prominence in that industry helped him become the namesake of Electronic Arts’ NFL football game, which is now known as “Madden NFL.”

Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He died on Dec. 28, 2021, at the age of 85.

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