John Madden: NBC Sports’ Mike Florio Proposes the NFL Rebrand Itself in the Iconic Coach’s Image

Article Highlights:

  • NBC Sports’ Mike Florio suggested the NFL rebrand itself in John Madden’s honor
  • The football world continues to mourn Madden, the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and announcer who died earlier this week at 85
  • Florio isn’t the only one suggesting the NFL permanently honor the late head coach

football world without John Madden living in it is still a difficult reality to imagine, especially after Fox Sports celebrated the NFL icon’s legacy with a documentary on Christmas Day.

Tributes, memories, and iconic telestrator clips have poured in since Madden died on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 85 years old. If NBC Sports’ Mike Florio gets his wish, the Madden NFL games won’t be the only way the former Oakland Raiders’ head coach is forever remembered.

Mike Florio suggested the NFL rebrand itself in John Madden’s honor

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden in 2014.
How should the NFL honor Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden? | Jason Miller/Getty Images

In 1922, the American Professional Football Association adopted a far simpler name: the National Football League, or the NFL.

Almost a full century later, Florio has an idea for the league’s next name. In a Dec. 29 editorial on ProFootballTalk, the veteran reporter proposed the NFL “find a proper permanent tribute to the most influential person in the history of the sport of football.”

Florio wrote, “a semi-plausible case could be made” for the NFL to become the Madden Football League or the Madden National Football League. The National Basketball Association was the last of the four major U.S. sports leagues to adopt a new name, a change brought about after the National League and Basketball Association of America merged in 1949.

After calling Madden “most influential person in the history of the sport of football,” Florio posed an important question to readers: Who had more influence in NFL history than Madden?

“He had tremendous influence in multiple ways, arguably the least of it coming from his work as a coach. His impact in broadcasting became groundbreaking. His relevance to the NFL’s official video game will be permanent, for at least for as long as the NFL continues to exist. … Anything named after Madden must match his relevance to the game. Given that high bar, there aren’t many viable options.”

Mike Florio

Florio’s other ideas include putting Madden’s name on either the Super Bowl, the Pro Football Hall of Fame (which the iconic coach and broadcaster entered in 2006), or the MVP Award.

“The NFL needs to settle on something as big as Madden was,” Florio said. “As he still is, and as he will continue to be.”

The NFL must consider listening to Florio and finding an appropriate way to honor Madden

NFL icon John Madden in 2006.
NFL icon John Madden entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 | Jay LaPrete /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Florio certainly has the right idea, even if the Madden Football League does sound strange at first. 

The concept of renaming awards or events after a prominent sports figure is nothing new. Major League Baseball retitled its World Series MVP Award after San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays in 2017. The NBA added Boston Celtics great Bill Russell’s name to the Finals MVP Award in 2005.

For what it’s worth, the Super Bowl MVP does not have a player or coach’s name attached to the honor. However, the recipient receives the Pete Rozelle Trophy, named after the Pete Rozelle Trophy. In theory, Tom Brady could win the John Madden Super Bowl MVP Award and bring the Pete Rozelle Trophy home.

Sports media figures who enter the Football Hall of Fame earn the Pete Rozelle Award, so that name is taken. Although the Hall of Fame Game is a meaningless preseason exhibition, it’s also technically the first game of the new season. Madden’s name would work there.

Additionally, the NFL or another group, such as the Pro Football Writers of America, could always create a new award or honor in Madden’s name down the road.

Florio isn’t the only one thinking of ways to honor Madden

As of publication, neither the NFL nor any organizations, whether it be a team or the PFWA, had attached Madden’s name to anything following his death. Given his tremendous impact on the sport and how revered he remains, don’t expect that to stay the case for long.

Florio isn’t the only one thinking the NFL should permanently honor Madden. Washington sports personality Craig Hoffman tweeted the NFL should rename its All-Pro team to the All-Madden team. From 1984-2001, the legendary broadcaster picked a group of players each year who he believed best represented the way football should be played. 

The inaugural All-Madden team in 1984 included San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, and Los Angeles Raiders defensive end Howie Long, among several other future Hall of Famers. Elsewhere, All-Madden remains the most challenging gameplay setting in the Madden games.

However, there are three officially recognized All-Pro teams, one of which is run by the PFWA. The Associated Press and Sporting News operate the other two teams. The NFL primarily celebrates its best players with the oft-criticized Top 100 list.

Hoffman wasn’t alone in having All-Madden on the mind. Nathan Morris, a founding member of Boyz II Men, suggested the Hall of Fame rename itself after Madden.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame houses the greatest All-Madden team of ALL TIME,” he tweeted. 

Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs won’t wait long to celebrate Madden’s legacy. The two-time Pro Bowler said he plans to honor the late coach with his cleats on Sunday, Jan. 2. 

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