John Madden Hangs Up the Microphone...but Not the Turducken
According to numerous reports, legendary broadcaster and former coach John Madden has decided to retire from the booth.
In a statement released by NBC sports, Madden indicated that he was leaving to spend more time with his wife of nearly 50 years and their children and grandchildren. At 73 years of age, it would be hard to blame him for wanting to take it easy for a few years.
Still, like his idol, Brett Favre, I can't see John Madden staying away from football for very long. He is as synonymous with football as any person is with their sport, especially considering he was never a great player.
As a coach, he was considered a tough guy, but a successful one. Raiders Owner Al Davis has yet to find a suitable replacement for Madden, despite the fact that Madden left coaching in 1978.
Madden made his name in the broadcast booth as an enthusiastic and engaged commentator. His comments occasionally bordered on the obvious (once famously noting "The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break"), which made him an easy target for comedians, most notably Frank Caliendo.
Perhaps Madden's greatest area of contribution is video games. Madden's yearly game, first published in 1993, has become the highest selling sports simulation game ever made. Its release date is gradually approaching baseball's opening day for the title of "Day When The Most Sick Days are Used By People Who Are Obviously Not Sick"
It has been released, in one year or another, on every system from the Apple II to the XBox 360.
There is no word yet as to whether or not Madden will keep his identification with the game, since he will no longer be involved in the football or broadcasting aspects of the game.
It would be hard to believe that EA, the publisher of the series, would move away from the iconic Madden name, unless he requested to be removed.
In truth, I suspect Madden will keep his name on the game and stay involved with its development as a way to keep contact with the sport he loves, without having to be in the public's eye.
With Madden's voice now gone, there is a large void in broadcasting waiting to be filled. No one knows who the next "voice of the game" will be, but I have just one request.
Anyone but Joe Buck.
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