He was a fixture on NFL telecasts known for the X’s and O’s when analyzing plays.
He’s even branded his own video game series.
Now, John Madden is coming to Bradenton. Well, not directly, for the most part.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer is partnering with former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke — a national champion and Heisman Trophy winner — for a youth football initiative called the IMG Academy football program.
“I think this is a perfect opportunity and a perfect partnership with IMG and IMG Academy,” said Madden in a teleconference. “They have the facilities, they have everything ready, we just have to put a program in place.”
Madden said he’ll be involved indirectly in everything, but he won’t be on the field coaching as much.
Generation X’ers who didn’t grow up during Madden’s coaching heyday, which included a Super Bowl championship, tend to know the former Oakland Raiders coach as a television analyst and football video game franchise first.
“We’re going to use video, and I’m going to be on video talking to them ... because with kids, things have to be interaction,” Madden said.
Weinke had a successful college stint with the Seminoles after spending time away from the game to pursue a Major League Baseball career. He parlayed his QB skills at the collegiate level into an NFL career, which ended in 2007.
“That football blood was running through me, and I made a decision to go back to college and play football,” said Weinke, the director of the IMG Academy football program. “And so really ... I’ve landed exactly where I’ve wanted to land, and that’s teaching kids.”
Weinke said they’ll be launching a three-day, all-position camp June 4-6 as a kickoff for the program.