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Coach Zorn On Madden

Posted by Matt Terl on April 16, 2009 – 5:11 pm

Following John Madden’s retirement earlier today, ESPN ran a pretty straightforward poll: are you going to remember Madden most for coaching, broadcasting, or his video games? The results, at least as I type this, are split almost exactly between broadcasting and video games with over 60,000 people responding.

This didn’t particularly surprise me, especially since I read the question and spent nearly five full minutes trying choose between those two myself, but it’s a divide that’s also highlighted in Redskins head coach Jim Zorn’s statement on Madden’s career change. (The Madden-coached Oakland Raiders were a divisional rival of the Seattle Seahawks for Zorn’s first three years as their quarterback.)

Here are Zorn’s initial, slightly more formal thoughts:

“I’ve known John since he was a head coach in Oakland. I admired his coaching career, and as an analyst he was simply the best. He kept football fun and made it important. He really defined the role of the TV analyst for NFL games.

“With John retiring, the broadcasts will lose his valuable knowledge, experience, and entertainment. He made the game easy enough for a beginner to understand, and his in-depth knowledge allowed the more educated fan to see a detail that they might have missed.

“John paid attention to the details and that’s why he was an outstanding coach, and he was able to share his wealth of knowledge in his broadcasts.”

So right there we have Madden the coach and Madden the broadcaster. Then Zorn paused and followed up with a brief anecdote: Read more »

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Thursday, April 16: John Madden Retires

Posted by Matt Terl on April 16, 2009 – 11:21 am

John Madden is retiring from broadcasting. Usually when something like this happens, I find myself sort of underwhelmed. By the time someone is ready to retire, I’m usually more than ready to not see them around anymore (see: Favre, Brett).

But Madden is one of those rarities where I came across the news and actually felt sad, even if for just a moment. He’s not nearly the color guy he once was, and I felt like much of his traditional appeal was lost when his partnership with Pat Summerall ended, but — like Harry Kalas, who passed earlier this week — he was one of the defining voices of the football I grew up watching, and it’ll be strange not to have him announcing anymore.

From a completely selfish perspective, I feel lucky in the whole thing: in the one season I overlapped with Madden, I was able to tour the giant rolling Outback ad known as the Madden Cruiser (in its final year of service, no less!), visit the horse trailer, and have a long conversation with Madden about the videogame franchise that bears his name. So I get away without too many real regrets.

Still, though, this will make rewatching those old NFC Championship Games even more of a nostalgia trip than it already is.

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