John Madden logo, explained: Why NFL fields, helmets feature tribute during Thanksgiving games

John Madden is one of the most influential broadcasters in NFL history. Besides his long and industrious career calling games, he is the eponym of the only annual NFL video game, and his calls on Turducken and Gatorade buckets have delighted NFL fans for years as a reminder that broadcasting football can be incredibly fun.

After Madden died on Dec. 28 last year, there were questions about what kinds of tributes would be paid to him. And perhaps fittingly, the NFL has elected to pull out all the stops on Thanksgiving, a day in which Madden was an annual mainstay.

The day will be called the “John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration” and will become an annual event for the NFL. All three networks showing games — CBS, FOX, and NBC — will have tributes to Madden. There will be logos on the field and players will sport decals on their helmets as well.

The Decal will differ from the “JM” shield the Raiders have sported this season. It will instead be the Enduring image of Madden being carried off the field with his fist in the air, arguably the most iconic image of his career.

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Per NFL.com, there will be a myriad of other events as part honoring Madden. Some of the Highlights include:

  • “The Madden Player of the Game:” Each network will choose their respective MVP for each game, and Donate $10,000 in that player’s name to a youth or high school program of the player’s choice, via the NFL Foundation. This is to commemorate Madden’s passion towards youth football.
  • A recording of John Madden talking about Thanksgiving and football’s connection will open each game.

In other words, Madden is going to be everywhere on Thanksgiving, much like old times. It’s all in an effort to honor one of the NFL’s most influential broadcasters. And it looks like it’s going to become a Thanksgiving mainstay for the NFL.

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