If you want to understand why Americans loved John Madden you need to realize his Humanity.
You need to know the story of John Madden and his relationship with Darrell Stingley. .John Madden became Stingley’s real-life guardian angel. He was playing for the Patriots and got hit by Jack Tatum in an exhibition game. Darryl Stingley went down and never walked again. Starting the very night of the injury, John Madden was at Stingley’s bedside, almost daily, for months, years. On that first night, with Stingley headed into surgery to save his life, Madden did not see Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks at the hospital. Madden got a phone, called the Oakland Airport, and demanded that Fairbanks, awaiting the team’s charter to take them back to Boston, be put on the line. “You get Chuck Fairbanks off that plane,” Madden insisted.
Madden visited Stingley often. One day, Stingley’s ventilator stopped working as Madden sat bedside., Madden began screaming. Madden was credited with saving his life.
K.R. Hanington in comments on a WSJ article about The Coach