John Madden was somebody that WWE really wanted to have on commentary at WrestleMania, according to recent comments from Bruce Prichard.
It seems like a natural fit to have a larger-than-life sports figure like John Madden calling WWE WrestleMania matches, but sadly it never happened. John Madden passed away in 2021 at the age of 85 following an incredible career as a Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Oakland Raiders, which led to him becoming a beloved NFL announcer from 1979 to 2008.
There are also a lot of pro football fans who know him mainly as the guy that the NFL’s pro football video game is named after. When people ask somebody if they want to “play Madden” they aren’t referring to the man himself, but rather the video game that has been part of our world for over 35 years.
Another thing John Madden was known for is traveling by bus (or train) instead of flying. After having a terrible panic attack in 1979 while on a flight, Madden decided that he would only travel to games for his announcing job by bus. From there, the “Madden Cruiser” was born to take him all around America to call football games.
On a recent episode of his Something To Wrestle podcast, WWE Executive Director Bruce Prichard was asked to name somebody that he wishes he got to work with in his career. That’s what led to Prichard talking about John Madden.
“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.”
Since Prichard was referring to Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan on commentary, he was likely referring to wanting Madden in the early WrestleManias that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.