I was on vacation last week and didn’t find out immediately that John Madden had passed away. It was impossible to miss over the weekend. With the recent biography on ESPN and his passing, his name was all over Sunday football. For a big part of my life John Madden was football. He was a great coach, an excellent broadcast personality, and was larger than life through the Madden NFL Football video games. It was his years as a broadcaster that I will remember most.
He has been parodied and imitated but never matched in the booth. His love of the game came through every week. He had a profound knowledge of the game and he taught it every week. There were few games where he did not bring out some nuance that I hadn’t noticed before. Unlike so many others he made the explanations interesting. He made it fun. He loved football but it was always just a backyard game being played by a bunch of adults. He was excited to call a game. He had fun doing it and he went bonkers when he saw something he liked. I rarely listen to the televised broadcasts anymore. I usually mute the TV and listen to a radio broadcast. No one can match John Madden.