Veteran football analyst John Madden announced that he has retired and will not be part of the NBC Sports broadcast team for the next NFL season. “I spent all day in the Bay Area yesterday with John and tried every way I could to make sure he was sure about his decision,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports, “and in true John Madden fashion, he was sure.”
Madden said, “It’s time. I’m 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall. I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I’m home and, more importantly, when I’m not. It’s been such a great ride. The NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion – it still is. I appreciate all of the people who are and were such an important part of the most enjoyable, most fun anyone could have… that great life with the teams, the players, the coaches, the owners, the League… my broadcasting partners Pat and Al… the production people and the fans…is still great… it’s still fun and that’s what it makes it hard and that’s why it took me a few months to make a decision. I still love every part of it – the travel, the practices, the game film, the games, seeing old friends and meeting new people… but I know this is the right time.”
Broadcast partner Al Michaels remarked, “No one has made the sport more interesting, more relevant and more enjoyable to watch and listen to than John. There’s never been anyone like him and he’s been the gold standard for analysts for almost three decades. On a personal note, I’ll miss working with John on many levels. As a broadcast partner, I could always count on him — no one ever came to work more prepared. As a friend and confidante, loyalty has always been paramount to John. And all in all, he was simply just great company.”
RBR/TVBR observation: Madden had a coach’s analytical expertise and could talk x’s and o’s with anybody. At the same time, he shared the average fan’s love for the visceral elements of the sport. There will never be but one John Madden. But he proved one thing: When he made his much ballyhooed move to ABC’s Monday Night Football, the ratings didn’t budge, proving that televised football is still about the game, not the booth.