Former Chicago Bears player and coach weighs in on John Madden

Chicago Bears (Photo by Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary) /

In a day full of loss, Chicago Bears fans lost ESPN reporter, Jeff Dickerson (44) to cancer and NFL legend, John Madden (85) unexpectedly. You can read about Jeff Dickerson here, while the name John Madden will go down in history with the likes of George “Papa Bear” Halas and Vince Lombardi. He has impacted the game of football in so many ways. He helped bring popularity to the NFL with his explosive personality.

John Madden was elected to the Hall of Fame as head coach of the Raiders. He is the face of the EA Sports video game, Madden Football — quickly shortened to just Madden followed by the year. When you see Madden’s face, you think NFL. His face might be one of, if not the most well-known when it comes to the sport. Something I did not know until today was that John Madden was not the first choice for the EA Sports franchise — he was third.

Joe Montana, I can understand — I owned and played his Sega game often as a kid. Joe Kapp makes zero sense to me, but glad it worked out the way it did.

Former Chicago Bears player and coach, Ron Rivera, speaks about John Madden

Another thing about John Madden that I was unaware of until after his passing was how much he impacted Ron Rivera’s head coaching career.

Ron Rivera spoke about some of his favorite moments while learning from Madden:

Something that stood out to me listening to this interview is how Madden was able to use his own life and coaching experiences and was able to relay them in such a way that it made sense. People who can do this are usually great storytellers and it makes sense with how well Madden manned the microphone as an NFL broadcaster.

Back in April, Ron Rivera spoke on the Rich Eisen show about a story he told that explains how John Madden helped transform him from a conservative coach to “Riverboat Ron”. Instead of coaching the way he knew he should, Rivera would just coach “by-the-book” and John Madden helped him realize he cannot coach that way.

It is great to hear how John Madden still stayed connected with coaches throughout the league and helped them become the coaches they are today. Ron “Riverboat” Rivera is a great coach and hearing these stories are fantastic. I’m sure he has helped mold and shape plenty of others.

Here are a couple of non-related videos of John Madden that link back to the Chicago Bears.

What a tough day in Chicago sports yesterday. First, the loss of a staple in Bears reporting and then one of the biggest names in NFL history. What are some other stories you have heard about John Madden throughout the league? Leave them in the comments — any connections to Chicago?