(Say it ain’t so John)
“No one has made the sport more interesting, more relevant and more enjoyable to watch and listen to than John,” quote from broadcast partner Al Michaels. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The decision came as a shock to the entire business. He could’ve gone another 30 years. But to be realistic, it was his decision to leave. He was not forced out due to illness, crummy bosses or even being bored. John went out on his own terms. Very rare that this happens in this day in age. We always think we know when it’s time for athletes to leave the sport, but ultimately we should hold back and let them decide. It comes as a shock when those in our business leave when they still have so much more to give. Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away just last week before a game against the Nationals. We will dearly miss Harry’s “Out of here” homerun call during every Phillie game and his brilliant narration on NFL films.
John is one of the reasons why I have gotten into the broadcasting world. Growing up I had no idea this man was a former coach. I figured he was just a regular guy who really loved football and knew a lot about the game. Of course as I grew older I realized this guy was a great coach who went out on top. The best winning percentage of any NFL head coach with at least 100 victories. Thirty years being the voice of the NFL. It’s hard to believe he’s been giving us great analysis for that long. I truly will miss him talking about the 49ers in the early 90’s with Pat Summerall. Him fumbling (pardon the pun) his words talking about Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. That will be one thing missing with Cris Collinsworth taking his place. Cris is good, but he’s not John Madden. No one will be.
I think my other contributor J.R. (who is a die hard Raider fan) will agree with me in saying that John deserves all the happiness and prosperity in retirement that he can get. Just don’t take a job in the Raiders organization. I don’t know how this came about, but John does not need it. Oakland needs him, not vice versa. Stay away from there John. Only bad things can happen there. John is an icon not just for football broadcasters, but all of them in any sport. We will miss him and hope he lives out the rest of his life to the fullest. You also made one hell of a video game John. Madden football rules.