Tragedy has struck one of the NFL’s most experienced referees. Carl Madsen, who has worked as an NFL umpire and a replay official since 1997, died on Sunday as he was coming home from working the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans game in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 71 years old. The league confirmed Madsen’s death on Monday.
“Carl Madsen was an NFL officiating fixture for more than two decades, first as a highly respected on-field official before transitioning to a replay role beginning in 2009,” Walt Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, said. “A terrific friend and colleague, Carl’s love of football and dedication to officiating was ever present, as he generously shared his time to mentor young officials at clinics across the country. A veteran of the Air Force, Carl had a tremendous spirit and will be greatly missed.”
Scott Green, the executive director of the NFL Referees Association, said in a statement on Monday, “Carl will be missed by those who worked with him on the field and in replay. He had a nickname among his fellow officials of `Big Country,’ which was not only related to his size but to his big personality as a warm and generous man.”
Madsen was driving home from Nashville to his hometown of Weldon Spring, Missouri, when he had an apparent medical emergency in his car. According to CBS Sports, police were first called at 4:46 p.m. CT about an SUV stalled in a lane on Interstate 65 North, with the driver apparently unconscious.
— No Context Tennessee Titans (@NoContextTitans) October 26, 2021
Don Aaron, a spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said that police officers broke open one of the car windows, successfully removed Madsen from the vehicle, and performed chest compressions on him until the fire department, ambulance, and medical personnel arrived. He was then taken to St. Thomas Midtown Hospital, where he sadly passed away shortly after arriving. His cause of death is currently unknown.
Madsen, a U.S. Air Force veteran, became an NFL employee back in 1997, when he started working as an on-field umpire until the 2008 season. From the 2009 season until now, he worked as a replay official. Madsen was in his 12th year as a replay official this season, tied for the official with the most NFL career appearances with Paul Weidner, another of the NFL’s 17 replay officials.
There was a tremendous outpouring of love on social media and online following this news. Sports fans, athletes, coaches, and lots of other people showed their appreciation for Madsen’s work and support for the Madsen family in what must be a very difficult and painful time in their lives. It is evident that he will be missed both by his coworkers and his own family.
This is truly a tragic incident that came at a very untimely and unexpected time, so all of my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the late Mr Madsen, and I wish them comfort in the midst of this terrible situation.
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