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Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Madden is Retiring

Read about it here.

One of my favorite John Madden moments involved the 1983 NFC championship game between the Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams. The Redskins were terrific in that area (Joe Gibbs was their coach), and they were sounding beating the Rams late in the game.

By the fourth quarter, Bob Holly, two years removed from quarterbacking Princeton, was in the game for the Redskins (backing up Joe Thiesmann) and Jeff Kemp, three years removed from quarterbacking Dartmouth, was in for the Rams (John Madden had a son play for Brown and a son play for Harvard).

Madden noticed this and offered: "This is amazing. Who would have thought that in a conference championship game, you'd have quarterbacks from Ivy League schools in the game for both teams?"

The director was masterful. He cut to a shot of Redskins' defensive tackle Dave Butz, one of the league's biggest players, standing on the sidelines. The closeup showed Butz in his helmet, with some paint missing, with a cut at the bridge of his nose.

Madden: "And there's Dave Butz. He didn't go to no Ivy League school."

Perhaps not as good as Alex Karras's famous line from a Monday night game, when the cameras focused on Raiders' defensive tackle Otis Sistrunk (who didn't go to college). Sistrunk, who shaved his head, was sitting on the bench on a chilly night, steam coming from his head. The previous talk was about different players and their colleges. Then the camera found Sistrunk on the sidelines. Said Karras: "And there's Otis Sistrunk, University of Mars."

Most if not all wouldn't remember my Madden vignette, but Madden was great on the air, affable but fair, interesting, didactic, and seemingly an all-around good guy. As Michael Lewis wrote in his book "The Blind Side," about the evolution of the left tackle position in football and the emergence of (now possible first-round draft choice out of Ole Miss) Michael Oher from out of nowhere in Tennessee, the football guys are much easier to talk to than the baseball guys (he knows from experience, because he wrote "The Blind Side" after he wrote "Moneyball").

Madden was an all-timer, and he will be missed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legend NFL-retire!!!
73-year-old John Madden is calling it quits.
NBC said- he has decided to retire.See more here:John Madden-retire

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Nomad said...

John Madden seemed to really love what he did for a living, especially for the last 30 years or so

1:44 AM  
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