Kenny Chesney Tributes John Madden, Recalls His ‘Boys of Fall’ Influence
Kenny Chesney is taking the news of John Madden's death as hard as anyone in country music. The 85-year-old NFL Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning (Dec. 28).
In 2010, prior to the release of his Boys of Fall documentary, Chesney spoke briefly about his relationship with Madden prior to filming. The famously idiosyncratic coach played a major role in the documentary and is featured in a 30-second trailer that dropped that fall (see below).
"When I first met John Madden, I was so starstruck I could hardly interview him," Chesney told ESPN.
Their relationship developed to the point where Chesney could call Madden "friend" upon hearing of his death.
"We became friends after this interview, and he'll be missed by everyone that loves the game of football," the singer writes on social media, sharing two photos of their time together on that shoot. "Thank you, John, for your time and for listening to my song and bringing so many people together on a Sunday afternoon."
The Boys of Fall documentary was an expansion of Chesney's hit single from 2010, "The Boys of Fall." ESPN released the film, which starred several A-list coaches and athletes including Nick Saban, Peyton Manning, Madden and Brett Favre. The Shaun Silva-directed film is about life through the lens of football. In many ways, it's a love letter to the sport through the eyes of those who live and breathe it.
Madden's death comes three days after his own documentary aired on Fox. The Christmas day All Madden documentary of his coaching and broadcasting career was heavily promoted in the month leading up to Dec. 25 and featured lengthy interviews with him, his wife of 62 years, Virginia, and their sons, Joseph and Michael.
After retiring from coaching, Madden went on to become one of the best football color commentators of all time, known for his jolly good nature and for emphasizing a big hit with "Boom!" He'd also partner with EA Sports to develop the most famous football video game franchise of all time, Madden NFL.
No cause of death was provided by the NFL in announcing his death.