After being worked on for two years, the original 1984 draft of the game explained by EA's founder Trip Hawkins to the retired American football coach and sportscaster John Madden was only going to feature 6 or 7 players per team on the field. When he heard this, Madden refused to put his name on the game unless it featured 11 players on both sides, stating "If it isn’t 11 on 11, it isn’t real football.” Not expecting Madden to be as involved in the game's planning as he became and needing his endorsement and involvement to ensure the game's success after two prior failed endorsements with other football players, it was delayed by an additional three years as the development team struggled to implement 11 on 11 play. This lead to EA staff to start referring to John Madden Football as "Trip's Folly" due to its lengthy development, and Madden himself to start believing the game had been cancelled. The game was eventually finished after EA hired Bethesda Softworks to help work on it, although their help was limited due to a lawsuit between the two over another football game they worked on entitled Gridiron! that extended the game's development even longer, and was released in 1988.