Very few sports figures are as legendary and as synonymous with a particular sport as John Madden. His voice and likeness will forever be immortalized following his passing two years ago at the age of 85. But, while most will remember Madden for his career as an announcer for the NFL (and Super Bowl-winning head coach), there was a time when the iconic figure could've joined the WWE at a WrestleMania.
According to WWE Executive Director, Bruce Prichard, the WWE tried to get Madden to cast at a WrestleMania.
Here's what Prichard shared at the Something to Wrestle podcast:
John Madden, man, we tried for such a long time. [Getting] John Madden to do color commentary for WrestleMania was our goal for the longest time. We thought he was a perfect fit. John was a fan, John wanted to do it, but John didn’t travel by plane.
In order to get John to our destination of WrestleMania on the three times, at least I worked on and tried to make happen, it just feasibly couldn’t take place because where John was in the country with his bus, but I would have loved to have had John Madden to do color commentary with Gorilla or Vince for an entire WrestleMania, and he knew it. He knew the show. He knew the characters. He loved the characters.
I would have probably wanted to put him with Vince and Bobby [rather than] Gorilla because he was so much like Gorilla in his delivery in the things that he saw and the way that he saw the business.
Madden's place among the all-time NFL greats is well-earned. Before his career behind the mic, Madden was a successful NFL coach who led the Oakland Riders to a win at Super Bowl XI. Madden's work with several sports networks and a handful of Super Bowl games earned him 16 Emmy Awards. Madden is also the face and namesake of the NFL Madden series, for which EA is said to have paid him a hefty $150 million sum back in 2005 for the rights to his name forever.
While Madden might have never joined the WWE to call a WrestleMania match or two, his name will forever be remembered by people in and out of football for his contributions to the sport.
Speaking of Electronic Arts, EA recently renewed its exclusivity deal with the NFL. Also, EA honored Madden post-humously by making him the cover star of the most-expensive edition of Madden NFL 23.