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John Madden has never been playable in a Madden NFL game, until now

The Hall of Fame coach comes to Ultimate Team as a lineman

John Madden, wearing #77 for the Philadelphia Eagles, blocking the Dallas Cowboys’ Jabril Cox in Madden NFL 23. Image: EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

He’s the name of the game, and he’s appeared on its sidelines, but never has John Madden been playable in EA Sports’ 35-year-old Madden NFL series, until now. John Madden, a two-way lineman drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958, is available to all Madden Ultimate Team players in Madden NFL 23 beginning today.

Madden, an all-conference selection at offensive tackle for the Cal Poly Mustangs in 1957, played both offensive and defensive line in college. In MUT, players will get two cards for him just for logging in: a 91-rated defensive tackle, and a 99-rated offensive tackle. The DT Madden can be upgraded to a 99 overall by completing a set of challenges. The OT Madden may be used at all five offensive line positions (guards, tackles, or center).

In MUT he’ll wear whatever uniform your team wears; here he’s shown with the Eagles with the number he wore in training camp. In 1959, Madden tore ligaments in his knee, ending his playing career prematurely. During his rehabilitation, he watched film with the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, from which he developed the concepts and schemes he would use as a coach over the next 18 years.

Madden has appeared in his namesake video game numerous times, as a commentator, a tutorial advisor (in Madden NFL 09), and most recently in MUT as a head coach. This is his first playable appearance, although offensive linemen are all AI-controlled.

Enshrined in Canton in 2006, John Madden retired from coaching in 1978 as the winningest (by percentage) head coach in NFL history, a record that still stands, and led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl championship in 1977. After he left coaching, he joined Pat Summerall in the CBS booth to form the NFL’s greatest and longest-lasting broadcasting partnership. Madden died Dec. 28, 2021 at his home in Pleasanton, California.

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