Re-live iconic John Madden call from Carolina Panthers first playoff win

(Photo by Robert B. Stanton/Getty Images) John Madden
(Photo by Robert B. Stanton/Getty Images) John Madden /

Perhaps it was fitting that the late, great John Madden was on the call for what turned out to be the Carolina Panthers’ first-ever playoff win. 

The NFL world lost one of its greatest pioneers this week with the announcement of John Madden‘s sad and sudden passing at the age of 85.

A legendary head coach turned broadcaster who became a household name for his warm approach and incomparable ability to decipher every play in a way even the most casual of fans could understand, Madden’s death was swiftly followed by an outpouring of grief and the warmest of tributes after the news was confirmed by the league on Tuesday evening.

Madden was one of a kind. His legacy will live through the ages as a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl winner, and the man that inspired a generation who fell in love with football both on-screen and playing the video game baring the iconic figure’s name.

It was perhaps fitting for Madden and Pat Summerall to be on the call for what ended up becoming a famous first playoff win for the Carolina Panthers. Little was expected of the new franchise when they went up against the all-conquering Dallas Cowboys, but a sensational effort saw them emerge victorious in 1996 to secure their place in the NFC Championship game.

A 26-17 scoreline didn’t flatter the Panthers one bit during what was a dominant display overall from a team who enjoyed a fairytale run during only their second official campaign in existence.

The game was settled by an interception from the late Sam Mills, who is looking to posthumously join Madden in Canton next year.

Madden and Summerall brought the play to life in a way to which many became accustomed throughout their time in the booth. This only enhanced the moment further and every Panther fan watching at the time hasn’t forgotten just how special this was.

John Madden brought Carolina Panthers’ first playoff win to life.

There will never be another John Madden. A pioneer who broke boundaries and was truly beloved by those who played for or worked alongside him.

The news came just a couple of days after the All-Madden documentary, where the legend got to hear first-hand how revered he was among the peers that are doing everything they can to preserve and enhance the foundations he helped build.

Mills, of course, is a similar figure within the Carolinas. The only player/coach that’s had their number retired by the Panthers so far and had much more to give before losing his brave fight with intestinal cancer that lasted two years and saw him remain in a coaching capacity almost until the end.

The word legend is thrown around plenty in this day and age. But make no mistake, Madden was exactly that and was thoroughly deserving of all the plaudits coming his way both in life and after death.

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Hopefully, the league can recognize Mills’ influence in a similar fashion in 2022 and the man behind the team’s “Keep Pounding” mantra can become enshrined in NFL immortality.