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Live Like John Madden: In Honor Of The Legend, Let’s Step Up The Effort

Live Like John Madden

Here’s the idea: As we look toward the rest of 2022, let’s Live Like John Madden (LLJM).

If ever there was a Manopause Man, it was Madden, who died in December at the age of 85 after a lifetime in football. Here’s a guy who was a star player in college, suffered two knee injuries that cut short his professional career, but then became a Hall of Fame NFL coach who followed that up with a Hall of Fame broadcasting career.

Most of all, he was beloved by Americans. Everyone loved Madden’s plainspoken delivery and bottom-line insights, along with his frequent use of ‘Bam!’, ‘Whap!’ and ‘Bang!’ to describe football plays. 

Madden NFL

Along the way, he made one of the best name and likeness deals in the history of sports – licensing the use of this name to EA Sports to market ‘Madden NFL,’ quite likely the most influential video game ever with more than 150 million copies sold. When ‘Madden NFL 22’ was released last summer, it marked the 22ndconsecutive year the game shot to No. 1 in sales in the first month it was released. 

So, What Have YOU Been Up To All These Decades?

Nah, I’m not trying to make you feel bad, but to put you on the path to feeling good. John Madden exemplified the power of keeping on, of using setbacks to launch forward. It’s what made him a success and in looking at his life, we become better equipped to recognize the opportunities on our own – regardless of our age.

Consider this: Madden wanted to play professional football, but he suffered a knee injury in college – in an era when surgery was not nearly as sophisticated and players were often never the same after busting up a knee. When Madden hurt his other knee in NFL training camp, he probably knew he was done. Yet it was during his rehab, while he was watching quarterback Norm Van Brocklin breaking down film, that Madden got the idea to go into coaching. As it turned out, he had a college degree in teaching.

John Madden Pivots To Coaching

Without missing a beat, he went straight into coaching, and he spent the next 20 years on the sidelines, winning a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders, who in 1969 had made him the youngest head coach in league history (at the time) when Madden took over at age 32. Madden never had a losing season and when he was burned out after the 1978 season, Madden surprised many when he announced his permanent retirement from coaching at age 42.

Finding His Home In The Broadcast Booth

The next NFL season, he was in the broadcast booth, and it might have been the job at which he was best of all. That’s pretty amazing, considering his winning percentage as an NFL coach is second-highest for any coach with at least a 100-game tenure.

John madden

Yet if you ask most people today, they mostly remember Madden with Pat Summerall calling all those NFL games. He gave us the All-Madden Team, the Thanksgiving Day turkey leg awards, and he became famous as the man who wouldn’t fly, crisscrossing the country in a custom luxury bus, the ‘Madden Cruiser.’ 

How it applies to us, and what I think John would want us to do, is to live in his spirit, to chase new challenges or revive old dreams. Remember his enthusiasm for life and make every day count.

How Will You Live Like John Madden?

So … LLJM. What goal will you chase in 2022? What’s going to inspire you to keep living life to the fullest? I’ll start with my own and we can continue this discussion in the chat forums on Manopause.com

My goal is simple, but difficult. I like to play golf. It’s one of those sports you can play as you age, but I want to do better than that. My goal for 2022 is to sharpen my golf game to the point I can enter competitive events, either individually (if I’m good enough) or as part of a team (could be more likely). 

Part of that goal is that I need to improve my golf-related fitness so I can play my best. After all, I don’t want to play well for an old man, I want to play like a young man who is getting old.

So my LLJM goal is to complete a series of workouts each month and see how I do. I’m even willing to share those results as part of our Live Like John Madden initiative. I’ll write about it on the site from time to time and I’ll also share your LLJM goals. Just drop me an email or post a comment on our community forum.

John Madden was a great American, a guy who we all could relate to. He lived with a relentless drive, always willing to explore that next chapter. Let’s remember him by showing what we can do.

About The Author
David Meeks
David Meeks
David Meeks has never hesitated to speak truth to power. He’s uncovered shady coal mine operators in Alabama, corrupt politicians in Louisiana and supported single fathers in Florida. When New Orleans flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Meeks, then Sports Editor of The Times-Picayune, refused an evacuation order. He commandeered a newspaper truck, assembled a team of journalists and won two Pulitzer Prizes. He has worked for the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and was the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports. He is Alabama-born and Michigan-raised, and today lives with his family in Washington, D.C.
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