"There's no place that I would rather be today on Thanksgiving than right here, right now, at a football game. There are just certain things that go together; the Turkey, the Family, the Tradition, Football…And we have it all today." – John Madden
Few things are more synonymous with one another than John Madden and Thanksgiving.
Beginning this year, the National Football League honors Madden with the "John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration," a yearly, multi-faceted celebration of the late great icon's indelible legacy.
"No one cared more or contributed more to our game than John Madden," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Honoring his memory and impact on the NFL is important and Thanksgiving Day brings all of the elements significant to John to life – family, football, food and fun."
The inaugural "John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration" on Thursday, November 24 will feature special broadcast tributes as CBS, FOX and NBC will create their own segments dedicated to the football legend. These tributes will be interspersed throughout the broadcast of each game (Bills vs. Lions at 12:30 PM ET on CBS, Giants vs. Cowboys at 4:30 PM ET on FOX and Patriots vs. Vikings at 8:20 PM ET on NBC). A recording of Madden – who called 20 Thanksgiving Day NFL games during his broadcasting career – discussing Thanksgiving and the holiday's special relationship to football will also serve as the lead-in to each of three games.
Live game audio of all three Thanksgiving Day games will be broadcast nationally by Westwood One and SiriusXM.
Additionally, each network will select a "Madden Player of the Game." Immediately after each game, the selected player will receive a $10,000 donation in their name from the NFL Foundation to the youth or high school football program of their choice, as the topic of youth football was important to Madden.
The inaugural "John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration" will also feature:
- Special "John Madden Thanksgiving" logo will be placed at the 25-yard lines of each field and a sticker on the back of each player's helmet depicting the iconic image of Madden with his fist up in the air
- Madden and Thanksgiving-related programming will air throughout the week on all NFL Media platforms, and the NFL's radio broadcast partners Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio
- EA Sports – creators of the iconic Madden NFL video game series – presents "Game Before The Game," a Madden NFL 23 competition between two opposing players from Thanksgiving Day competing teams
- The @NFL Instagram and Snapchat Thanksgiving AR lens will allow fans to determine "The Best Part of Thanksgiving" via a randomizer. Users will hear the iconic "BOOM!" from Madden when the randomizer lands, followed by one of his various Thanksgiving Day in-booth sound bites and surrounded by an illustrated Madden graphic
- Gabe Gault – renowned Metaverse artist and son of former NFL wide receiver Willie Gault – will paint a John Madden tribute mural in the Metaverse. The Metaverse mural will feature Madden throughout his career as a player, coach and broadcaster with his famous Thanksgiving quote stylized and woven through the art. Content will live on NFL social platforms, showing the design process and final outcome