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Bill Belichick isn’t one for small talk, let alone rambling on. But when the opportunity to discuss John Madden presented itself on Wednesday, Belichick had no problem discussing the man whom he said “set the standard for coaching.”
“It’s a huge loss for the NFL and professional football,” Belichick said of Madden’s Tuesday morning passing . “John is just a tremendous person to be around.”
Bill Belichick said John Madden was "just a tremendous person to be around."
"I think we all set out to have a good professional career, and John had about five of them." pic.twitter.com/Ram5JH8rE9
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) December 29, 2021
Belichick spent nearly all of his 20 minute Zoom call with media members talking about the legendary Raiders coach-turned broadcaster whom success seemed to follow. “I think we all, probably, set out to try to have a good professional career,” said Belichick. “John had about five of them. He set the standard for coaching in his era. [The Madden-coached Raiders] had the best record, best teams, championships, and all that.”
It wasn’t just Madden’s coaching that made an impact on Belichick. He was equally as impressed by what he did in the booth. “…He moved to broadcasting and, certainly, increased the popularity of the game, singlehandedly, by quite a bit. I don’t know how you’d ever measure that, but I think everybody that liked football enjoyed John’s commentary,” added Belichick. “A lot of people who probably didn’t even care about football found John entertaining and watched football because of him. He brought a lot of people to the game. He brought a perspective to the game that was very unique. Loved by all.”
The Patriots coach didn’t stop there. In a rare moment of relatability, Belichick emphasized what a special person Madden was: “Just a very well-rounded person that had a great love of life, love of football, love of the history of football. He was always such an enjoyable person to be around and converse with unless you were standing across the field from him. That was a little different story.”
Between pregame production meetings, conversing as members of league committees, and sharing the field, Madden and Belichick spent a fair amount of time around one another. Their time together clearly had an impact on Belichick. “He was great to work with and just loved football, just loved football. I think he loved every aspect of it. Coaching it, announcing it, improving it, making it a better game, making it more exciting, making it better for the fans, making it safer, making it more entertaining, and the presentation of it in an entertaining way as well,” said Belichick. “Just a wonderful man with a really great perspective that did a lot for the game.”
In a life filled with success and adoration, Madden’s most impressive feat may have been his ability to get Belichick to eagerly speak with a room full of reporters.
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