Bill Belichick Spends Roughly 12 Minutes Remembering ‘Great’ John Madden

'He was a good friend'

by

December 29, 2021

Like so many in the football world, Bill Belichick had John Madden on his mind Wednesday.

Madden, whose impact on the NFL can be neither overstated nor quantified, died Tuesday at 85 years old. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was among the many who shared statements mourning the loss of one of sports’ most enduring, transcendent figures.

But Belichick waited until his Wednesday news conference, during he which spent roughly 12 minutes speaking about Madden. The Patriots head coach began his conference with a lengthy statement about Madden before fielding multiple questions on the legend’s death. His longest answer came after the final question, with Belichick talking for about four minutes about Madden’s ability to change the perspectives of his peers.

“Our condolences to the Madden family,” Belichick said in an opening statement. “It’s a huge loss for the NFL, professional football. John is just a tremendous person to be around. I think we probably all set out to try to have a good professional career; John had about five of them. He set the standard for coaching in his era. … Certainly did a lot for the league and the competitiveness of the league. He was a great champion for minorities and minority scouting. And some of the great players that they had with the Raiders, you know, from some of the smaller Black colleges, that he and coach (Al) Davis brought into the organization. He moved to broadcasting, certainly increased the popularity of the game singlehandedly by quite a bit. I don’t know how you’d ever measure it. … A lot of people who probably didn’t even care about football found John entertaining and probably watched football because of him.

” … John did a lot for player safety. I know he was on several committees in the league, advisory and so forth, in studying safety of the game, player safety. He was instrumental in a lot of those changes and improvements to help player safety.”

Belichick, who spent a lot of time with Madden over the years, added: “He was a good friend.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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