John Madden's Legendary, Sometimes-Ridiculed, Voice Will Live On Forever

Matt DolloffCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Former Head Coach John Madden of the Oakland Raiders is presented with his Hall of Fame Ring during a ceremony to honor his recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame before the game against the Arizona Cardinals on October 22, 2006 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

I know the headline makes this sound like some kind of eulogy. No, we have not lost John Madden the person yet. But after announcing his retirement Thursday, we have lost John Madden the broadcaster, a true legend in the business.

At 73, Madden has limited time left on Earth, but his voice is truly immortal. Though it has often been the butt of many jokes, most famously Frank Caliendo’s dead-on impression, there’s no denying his presence in the game of football.

His name, face and voice are all instantly recognizable by any self-respecting fan of the game. He is the face and voice of football. He is the inspiration behind arguably the greatest video game franchise of all time.

Despite what many younger fans may believe about Madden’s intelligence level in the game of football, he won Super Bowl XI way back in 1977. He may have been famous for pointing out the obvious, but the man is a genius and a legend. There’s no disputing that.

Any fan who considered themselves a detractor of Madden’s will feel the void left by his big personality when he is replaced by Chris Collinsworth next season. Though Collinsworth has a great voice for TV and is an astute commentator, he is not a suitable replacement for Madden.

Whatever is said about Madden’s weak points, his strong points always kept us entertained.

At least for myself as a football fan, the worst case scenario for a Madden-commentated game is a handful of laugh-out-loud moments. He is still better than Dan Fouts, who never analyzes a play but just points out how good or bad the effort was, or Tony Kornheiser, who has too many publicized opinions for any of them to mean anything.

Though I am a Chris Collinsworth fan, I will miss the personality of John Madden on TV. And when his time on Earth is over, younger generations of sports fans, myself included, will realize that he is far from a joke.

That is, if we haven’t already.