There are few things I enjoy more than catching a football game that John Madden and Pat Summerall call, and I can count those things on my two nuts. John Madden alone has such an absurdly-vast knowledge of football, that there really is no way to put into words. He is to football what God is to Christians, except more handsome.
This might be one of my saddest mornings in a long time - turning on Sports Center and seeing: John Madden retires. If you don't know who John Madden is, you're a motherfucker. Most people that know King Madden today probably know nothing of his coaching days, and only know him through his NFL broadcasting or the line of video games named after him. Here are some of the reasons John Madden is better than you and I:
- Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006
- Head Coach of the Raiders his entire 10-year career
- Youngest pro coach to reach 100 career victories
- 1969 AFL Coach of the Year
- Helped the Raiders win Super Bowl Xl
- On-Air commentary since 1979, mainly with Pat Summerall and occasionally with Vin Scully - both of whom are hall of fame broadcasters
- 16 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Analyst/Personality
King Madden's use of the telestrator should also make that list, but if you never caught a game he called, you wouldn't get the reference AND shame on you. In a nutshell, he popularized the use of marking certain areas for the TV audience to show emphasis on a player, and sometimes just to be witty. He's also known for his use of onomatopoeia, with my favorites being BOOM! and WHAP!, and what sometimes felt like exceedingly obvious explanations (i.e.: You see, what the receiver needs to do is focus and catch the ball.).
I remember a game where Deion Sanders had his son in a stroller on the sideline, and the camera zoomed on him sleeping. Sanders was always a flashy sports personality, so King Madden said something that amounted to "like father like son" and circled his son wearing a pretty flashy necklace on the telestrator. There were also times where you'd see him just mark up the entire screen with 10 different circles, and he could still make sense of it all.
But all jokes, John Madden really knew football inside and out. Even if you thought what he was saying was painfully obvious, it was exactly what needed to happen for that player or team to do better in that game. And sometimes it felt like maybe the team was listening on his commentary, because I remember many times seeing the team or player adjust per what King Madden mentioned. He had the rare ability to make a football fan out of anyone, and could break down a situation on the field to the most minute particular - the angle of the player's foot, the positioning of his hands, the speed of this, the movement of that.
There is no one, and I repeat NO ONE, with such an awe-inspiring love and knowledge for football, and there will never be another John Madden.
John Madden, you will be SORELY missed.