Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Madden parks the bus.

Broadcast legend John Madden is retiring after 30 seasons in the booth.

The Hall of Fame coach spent the last three seasons on NBC's "Sunday Night Football." His final telecast was the Super Bowl in February.

"You know at some point you have to do this -- I got to that point," Madden said on his Bay Area radio show Thursday. "The thing that made it hard is not because I'm second-guessing, 'Is it the right decision?' But I enjoyed it so damn much.

"I enjoyed the game and the players and the coaches and the film and the travel and everything."

Cris Collinsworth will replace Madden, moving over from the network's studio show, NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol said. Collinsworth filled in when Madden took a game off last October.

John Madden discusses what the Hall of Fame means to him.

Ebersol called Madden "absolutely the best sports broadcaster who ever lived."

Since 1969, Madden has been a staple in the NFL. He was head coach of the Oakland Raiders for ten seasons, accumulating a .763 winning percentage with one Super Bowl title.

Upon retiring from coaching after the 1978 season, Madden joined CBS and proceeded to stay there for fifteen seasons until the network lost their NFL rights to Fox. Madden also owns the distinction as the only broadcaster in history to call an NFL game on all four of the major TV networks.

He also lent his name to the most successful sports home video game as well as having been a pitch man for Miller Lite, Tinactin and Outback Steak House.

But much to his chagrin, Madden was brilliantly impersonated by comedian Frank Caliendo. Check out a couple of clips I found from 2002.

- Caliendo called in to a radio show where Troy Aikman was a guest. For a split second, Aikman honestly thought it was Madden on the air.

- During Madden’s first season on ABC’s Monday Night Football, an unsuspecting Outback manager thinks Madden himself is calling to make dinner reservations.


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