Madden’s big boom weekend

  Posted on Fri, Aug. 04, 2006


By Ray Buck
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
John Madden is used to long bus rides.

It’s this long weekend in Canton, Ohio, that has him worried whether his “Hey! Boom! Yeah!” commentary, which moves to NBC on Sunday nights, will be saddled with distractions.

On Saturday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts Madden, who then joins Al Michaels to call the Eagles vs. Raiders in the HOF game Sunday (7 p.m., KXAS/Ch. 5).

Madden smells trouble. He might need Michaels to bail him out.

Said Madden: “Al has always been a clean-up guy, and I always need a clean-up guy, and I’ll need a clean-up guy Sunday night more than ever.”

The pair moves to Sunday Night Football on NBC after four seasons of Monday Night Football on ABC.

“John will be running on adrenalin,” Michaels said. “I mean, even if John didn’t do one second of preparation [for the game], he’d still go in the booth and be the best analyst that ever lived.”

The 70-year-old icon of NFL broadcasts, video games and six-legged turkeys is going into the HOF strictly on his coaching merits. He had a .759 winning percentage (best in league history among coaches with 100 victories or more), eight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl XI victory in 10 years with the Raiders.

“I liken John’s coaching career to Sandy Koufax’s pitching career,” Michaels said. “It may not have been that long, but it was phenomenal.”

Now, we all know that Madden can handle a full plate (in more ways than one), but starting up a new season in a new time slot with a new network…and, oh, by the way, welcome to pro football immortality…is a lot to ask of anyone.

Dick Ebersol, NBC producer for Sunday Night Football, says the secret to success for ex-jocks (and coaches) is to create an allegiance with viewers — not old buddies.

Madden does that.

“I don’t know anyone who ever judged John as being unmerciful on anybody,” Ebersol said, “but you know he’s telling the truth.”

The multifaceted Madden’s popularity transcends generations.

“If it happened, none of it was planned,” he said.

The “Madden” EA Sports video game phenomenon began long before there was a PlayStation or an Xbox.

“It started out as a [computerized] teaching tool,” Madden said. “When the video game hardware broke out, we already had the software.”

Madden, who coached his last game in 1978, was an HOF finalist in 1985.

“They said I didn’t make it because they were afraid I wouldn’t stay retired,” he recalled, laughing. “At some point, you have to say, ‘Hey, he’s not going back.'”


~ by Sactown Raider Boosters on August 4, 2006.

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