When millions of us gather around the tube on Monday nights this fall to gorge ourselves on chicken wings, beer and other food and beverage items with high nutritional value, we will have to pay homage to the man that had more impact on the NFL than anyone.
You heard me right.
He made the Raiders "THE RAAAIDUHS" before they became a complete laughingstock. He was the only head coach to get out of Oakland gracefully, mainly because he couldn't handle air travel anymore.
Along the way he won two Super Bowls, developed Willie Brown, Lester Hayes, Fred Biletnikoff, Ray Guy, Ken Stabler, John Matuszak, Phil Villapiano, Dave Casper...well, we could go on but there's more to cover.
When he went to CBS to cover football, he became the go-to analyst. If you turned on a Sunday game in the 1980s and early '90s, you could close your eyes for a minute and his voice, along with Pat Summerall's, let you know it was the only game that really mattered.
He introduced the most famous touring bus ever, and that includes Bret Michaels'. He also gave us the joy of turducken, "Boom!" and gave Erik Kramer a free turkey leg.
He switched to ABC to do Monday Night Football with Al Michaels. Around that time he made his third significant impact with the most popular football video game ever.
Millions of kids and adults who have the maturity of kids mark each year's edition of his game on the calendar to then spend three days in a sleepless haze playing an entire season.
Today, he announced his retirement at 73 so he could spend more time with his five grandchildren even though he still loves the game. Cris Collinsworth will take his spot, but neither he or anyone, will ever replace him.
Thanks, John Madden. You are NFL football.
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