As most of you know, John Madden has an insatiable appetite for football blogs and he reads Field Gulls frequently. He was apparently so upset with my glib remark a few days ago that he has decided to retire from broadcasting. He will be replaced by Cris Collinsworth.
"My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall. I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I'm home and, more importantly, when I'm not."
"I still love every part of it – the travel, the practices, the game film, the games, seeing old friends and meeting new people... but I know this is the right time."
Madden has taken a lot of flak in recent years as viewers have come to expect more in-depth analysis from the color commentator. Madden's visceral style and penchant for stating the obvious (albeit in a very entertaining manner) are less welcome than in the past. It certainly doesn't help that Frank Caliendo has appeared on every possible media outlet in his quest to take over the world, or at least cause enough brain damage that no one cares so much who's in charge.
Part of me will miss John Madden. As a kid, I was rarely more excited for televised sporting events than I was for Monday Night Football. Remember when MNF was still on ABC? After the Great Dan Fouts / Dennis Miller Experiment, Madden helped resurrect MNF. Hell, John Madden and Pat Summerall may have been the greatest NFL broadcast team ever in their days on Fox. John Madden is to my NFL watching experience what Keith Jackson was to the college game or what Dave Niehaus is to baseball. Hearing their voices immediately sends me back in time.
One of my childhood friends and I used to love playing Madden 64. After a big tackle (which in Madden 64 involved the defender sort of flopping at the ballcarrier, followed by both falling down in opposite directions), Madden would say, "That's not a tackle, that's a freight train coming through!" and it always got a rise out of me As much as I didn't enjoy the last couple years of Madden on SNF, he is a little piece of my childhood and I will miss hearing him in the booth. Have a happy retirement, John, and make sure to teach your grandkids that they can't catch the ball if they can't get their hands on it.