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OTL: The Franchise

Originally Published: August 5, 2010
By Patrick Hruby

In the beginning, there was the word. And that word was no. On a cloudy morning in 1984, three men met in an Amtrak dining car winding through the Rocky Mountains, en route from Denver to Oakland, Calif. The first was Trip Hawkins, a closet "Strat-O-Matic Football" junkie and founder of video game maker Electronic Arts. The second was Joe Ybarra, Hawkins' lieutenant, a high school chess champ turned pigskin fanatic. The third was John Madden, the former Super Bowl-winning coach, hardware store pitchman, televised NFL evangelist and poet laureate of interior line play.

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