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Al Michaels recalls how John Madden never boarded a plane despite his wife being a trained pilot

John Madden is arguably one of the greatest coaches to ever grace the NFL. It was his electrifying personality, along with his astute footballing brain, that helped him continue to make an impact on the sport even long after his coaching days.

After stepping down as head coach of the Raiders, Madden left his mark in the NFL as a color commentator alongside fellow booth legend Al Michaels. The two worked together on ABC’s Monday Night Football from 2002 to 2005 before moving to NBC for their Sunday Night Football special in 2006. They worked together on SNF for three years before Madden eventually stepped down from his role.

While the two worked together on air for seven years, they barely did much traveling together. Madden had a well-known aversion to flying, for which he had his famous Madden cruiser bus to help him travel across the country.

The Madden Cruiser was LEGENDARY.”My over under was an hour on that bus. His wife Virginia Madden at one point had a pilots license & he wouldn’t get on a plane” ~Al Michaels#PatMcAfeeShowLIVE

Recalling his experience with regard to the Madden Cruiser, Michaels, while appearing on the Pat McAfee Show, had this to say:

“My over/under on the bus for about an hour. I never went across the country. I never went further down than like Boston to Providence when we had a game in Foxborough. The bus was fun, but there were people who went across the country with John. Man, I don’t know how he did it.”

But what really took everyone by surprise was the fact that Madden’s wife, Virginia, was actually a trained pilot. Yet still, the former Raiders HC refused to board a flight:

“I’ll tell you something amazing that nobody thinks about right now. Virginia Madden, to whom he was married for 62 years, they celebrated their anniversary last weekend. Virginia, at one point, had a pilot’s license. She took flying lessons. She did. She took flying lessons… And John still never got on a plane.”

Madden has left a lasting legacy on the NFL, be it as a coach, broadcaster, or even as the man who revolutionized video games for us forever.

John Madden’s legacy as one of the biggest names in the history of video games

Madden’s name is synonymous with the video game that we have all grown to love. But how exactly did he become such a big name in the video game world?

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The first ever Madden game was released in 1988 after Electronic Arts (EA) failed to land Joe Montana as their cover star.


The key moment for the franchise’s success came in 1990 with the second edition of the game after it was released on Sega Genesis. In 1993, it was on Gameboy, and by 1995, on the PlayStation console as well.

The developers at EA also managed to land an official NFL license in 1993, which saw the brand being renamed to Madden NFL. Since then, the name has stuck and the video game franchise is now reported to be worth a whopping $4 billion.

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Edited by Souryadeep Mazumder

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