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August 28, 2015

John Madden retires from NFL broadcasting

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 16th 2009 12:29PM
madden nbcBoom! Faster than you can say, "Tough actin' Tinactin," NFL Hall of Famer John Madden, the legendary voice of Monday Night Football and the creator of EA Sports video game Madden NFL Football, has decided to take himself out of the game. Madden's retiring from broadcasting. He'll be leaving NBC's Football Game of the Week as the color commentator; Al Michaels is continuing at the play by play voice.

The fact that Madden has retired at 73 is not really a surprise. This is the same guy that walked away from the Oakland Raiders head coaching position (when it still was a prestigious gig) after winning a Super Bowl and while he was still a young man.

But he started young; he was on 33 years old when he got the Raiders job. Ironically, most people don't even remember that Madden was an NFL head coach because his career in the booth has overshadowed his accomplishments on the sideline.

In the wake of Howard Cosell's distinctive era as Monday Night Football's acerbic game critic, Madden emerged -- first on CBS in 1979 -- as a no-nonsense, straight-talker with a real insight into the game. His colorful descriptions weren't flowery or fancy, and viewers responded to him immediately. He next went to Fox from 1994-2002, before ABC's Monday Night Football grabbed him for four years. He joined NBC in 2006. He's the only person who has worked as the top color analyst at all four broadcast networks.

Madden is famous to the way he calls a game, including his ability to predict the action in advance, and his love of the tough side of the game. His eccentricities are also famous, like taking a bus each week to the location of the game he's broadcasting because he doesn't like flying. On Thanksgiving, he was the first person to make the turducken -- a combination turkey, duck and chicken -- famous.

NBC will likely not miss Madden too much, especially since their Sunday Football Night in America has a roster that includes Al Michaels, Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, Cris Collinsworth, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Bob Costas and Peter King (have I left anyone out?). Still, a legend is retiring and he's leaving big shoes to be filled.

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Madden should have retired many, many years ago. Once upon a time, he was a good announcer, and his casual style was refreshing. But he has been mailing in his performances for a long time and I couldnt bear to listen to him call a game. Usually I would watch the games he did with the sound muted to avoid his annoying voice and droning, obvious comments. It seemed that the only time he could get interested in the games anymore was during the playoffs, and even that was iffy.
I was so tired of hearing him repeat the same things year after year as if they were new thoughts or observations. How many times did we hear his speech about the finality of the playoffs, or the nonsense over the six legged turkey every Thanksgiving, or any number of othe repetitious ramblings of his.
Madden was a great coach, a great announcer,for a while, and he was good for the game. But, like a lot of athletes and coaches, he stayed too long. I appreciate the good years he had and what he did for the game of pro football, but I wont miss him.

April 16 2009 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry, but Madden stopped being "insightful" when I was in high school. His stupidity and his Vitale-like need to make sound bytes proved to be one of the most annoying things on Television. He's not in the Tim McCarver/Joe Buck category, but he's almost there. Summerall was the only thing that made it easy to watch Madden games.

Ever listen to Madden talking about technical things? He sounded like an idiot...

I'm glad he's finally retiring.

If only Bob Uecker did football games!

April 16 2009 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's going to happen to EA Sports' Madden NFL Football Franchise? Madden voiceovers and name were a big part of the brand.

No more Maddenoliday! :(

April 16 2009 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rex from Ars

Awwwww! I'll miss ol' John, even if he was like a crazy uncle that didn't make sense half the time!

April 16 2009 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Ironically, most people don't even remember that Madden was an NFL head coach because his career in the booth has overshadowed his accomplishments on the sideline."

I beg to differ - it's common knowledge that Madden was a coach.

April 16 2009 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, I'm heartbroken. I started watching Football late in life and thoroughly enjoyed Madden's style. I will miss him.

April 16 2009 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

About ... Freakin' ... Time !
5 yrs ago he was already becoming a parody of himself ! Just don't bring Kornheiser back to replace him!

April 16 2009 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He's still got a lot of good broadcasting years in him, but I'm sure he has a "no compete" clause that will prevent him from going to another network.

It's a shame he had to end his career working with Al Michaels, though anything is a step up from Pat Summerall.

April 16 2009 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment

You must be joking. Pat Summerall is an outstanding announcer. Michaels is terrific too. Madden on the other hand, needed to go.

April 16 2009 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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