Madden finally gets `ultimate’ honor

Jim Sarni
On broadcast sports

 

August 4, 2006

John Madden will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

It’s about time.

Can you imagine what the NFL would be today without him?

Madden is an American icon, a former NFL coach and legendary announcer who has become the face and the voice of the league.

It’s for his coaching, rightfully, that Madden finally is being recognized. Madden, who took over the Oakland Raiders in 1969 at 32, compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record and won the 1977 Super Bowl.

“It was one of those things that you cannot control so you try not to worry about it, but to say you don’t think about it would be a bunch of baloney,” Madden said.

“It means everything to me and obviously it is the ultimate. It lasts forever and is something that humbles you and at the same time excites you more than you have ever been excited.”

Madden, who was elected by the Seniors Committee, should have been elected when he retired from coaching.

“Twenty-seven years ago I was a finalist and one of the reasons they said I didn’t make it was because they said they were afraid that I was going to go back into coaching and not stay retired, so they wanted to make sure,” Madden said. “It took 27 years for the next opportunity to be a finalist and eventually get it.

“It means everything that I am being honored as a coach.”

“He is as important a figure as anyone in the recent history of the NFL and I am thrilled for John to be finally getting into the Hall of Fame,” said NBC broadcast partner Al Michaels. “He had a phenomenal 10-year run. I’ve likened John’s coaching career to Sandy Koufax’s pitching career. It may not have been that long but it was phenomenal. That is how I look at John, and combined with what he has done for the last 25 years as a broadcaster, I think he has made the game more interesting to millions more than anyone in the NFL. As great as the game is, John Madden has made it ever greater.”

Madden doesn’t mind that it took so long for the Hall of Fame to give him another chance.

“A lot of good things have happened in the past 27 years and there is nothing that I am bitter about,” he said. “I really think that because sometimes you have to wait, you appreciate it more. I have heard it said before that the longer you wait the more you appreciate it and believe me it’s true. Because I have had to wait so long, this thing could not be appreciated anymore than I appreciate it.”

After Madden accepts his place in Canton, the 15-time Emmy Award winner will make TV history on Sunday by becoming the first man to have worked for all four “major networks” as he calls the Hall of Fame Game between the Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles for NBC.

The game comes 3,113 days since NBC’s last NFL broadcast, Super Bowl XXXII between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers

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~ by Sactown Raider Boosters on August 4, 2006.

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