April 17, 2009

Goodbye John Madden

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

Since there will be much said tomorrow about the Celtics loss of both Kevin Garnett and hope for a championship repeat, I’ll get to the other huge news story of yesterday: John Madden’s retirement.

Madden broke into the NFL as coach of the Raiders and is regarded as a legend in the game. He helped the team win their first Super Bowl, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 back in 1977. He retired then moved up into the box to call games.

Paired with Pat Summerall for the majority of his career, the tandem quickly became one of the best ever. Whatever game they were calling, they made it entertaining in their own way. Summerall would straight-face every play and John would come in with a famous Madden-ism. They couldn’t be beat.

Big John’s last game he called was this February’s Super Bowl, where the Steelers completed a great last minute drive against the Cardinals. There was no fanfare about how Madden was calling his last game and really, doesn’t that make his retirement all the better? Now, he goes out quietly; without a full season of farewell stories. It really shows how classy he is  by not trying to soak it all in while he still could have.

Madden leaves quite a legacy, too. This summer’s Madden 10 will be the 21st edition of the best selling video game series in history — and there’s no sign of the series stopping either. In the end, that’s how Madden might mainly be remembered, despite all of his accomplishments. To a generation of kids, he’ll be the guy who EA Sports football title is named after and nothing more. The rest of us who got to hear him call a game, though, he’ll be closer to our hearts.

And, hey, isn’t it fitting that he’s retiring the same off-season that his bromance partner Brett Favre finally, truly, hung up the cleats too?


  1. Madden and the Raiders were great to watch in the 70’s. Ken “the Snake” Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, and the rest of the misfits always made for an interesting game.

  2. the only thing John Madden did better than comment on football was sell anti-fungal foot medication

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