Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Madden Retires From Broadcasting

At age 73 the legendary broadcaster is hanging it up.

I grew up watching Madden and Summeral covering the NFC on CBS. They were the best team ever. I credit Madden with helping turn me into a football fanatic. He was brilliant at explaining blocking and defensive schemes, insider knowledge that a civilian doesn't have access too.

As the #1 crew for CBS (and later Fox) Madden and Summeral did all the big games. For a generation of people those voices were as much a part of the game as the action on the field.

My complaint would be Madden over-hyping stars and over-emphasizing successful teams. The NFC Championship in 1991, featured the NY Giants at San Francisco. The 49ers had already won two Superbowls in a row, and were expected to go for three. They had superstars like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. It was as if the Giants weren't even playing. He never mentioned them. It was a close, tense game. (In my opinion, the greatest football game ever played.) The action never interrupted Madden's praise for the 49ers. The Giants, knowing they didn't have to many chances, played a risky game. Bill Parcells gambled on a 4th and 2 early in the fourth quarter and didn't make it. Madden said over and over and over: "Oh, the Giants are going to regret going for it there. That kind of thing will haunt you. You can't give San Francisco good field position, they will kill you for it." etc. The Giants ended up winning in the dying seconds, and Madden seemed disappointed. For such a great game, Madden ended up being a detractor to the enjoyment of it.

Atlanta Falcons fans can accuse him of doing the same thing in their huge upset over Minnesota in the 1998 NFC Championship.

That said, he will be missed. Football will not be the same. He definitely made it fun to watch.

UPDATE: Here's a youtube of highlights for that great 1991 Giants v. 49ers game, narrated by Alec Baldwin for America's Game. (It says 1990, because that was the season. It was actually January, 1991.) It includes Leonard Marshall's famous and devastating hit on Joe Montana. No Madden voice here, but great viewing.

1 comment:

  1. Madden was extremely smart to get into the video game industry