John Madden is gone from the airwaves, and for that we should all say a word of thanks. Over the years the man went from clear-headed professor of the game to "guy who just plainly states what's happening in front of him that everyone else can see too." It was not an impressive transformation. To wit:
Yes, John, we know it was a bootleg. We know it because it's not the first game we've tuned in to. It was insane that once per week rabid fans were subjected to a guy who could just barely speak. It had gotten to the point where parodying him could be done by experts and novices alike:
To say John Madden had lost his fastball in the past decade would be a dramatic understatement. He'd lost the ability to watch the game, say anything coherent, or add anything of value to the telecast. He was a walking, breathing nod toward the notion that if something's broke, you should pay it a couple million dollars a year and provide it with a bus. Toward the end the average Madden comment went a little something like this:
JOHN MADDEN: "You know what you need to do to win a football game? You need to hold onto the football. You can't have guys taking the football away. If they get the football then you lose. If you've got the football then that's good, you're winning. Because you have the football. Football, football, football. Boom!"
And then they would cut to commercial. It was a case-study on the disintegration of a man. The fans want information, and Madden had stopped providing it. He was a drag on the telecast, and I'm glad that today he (finally) made the right decision to retire. On the positive side he gave us the Madden video game franchise, which in the mid-90s probably saved my life. Plus he told us about Tough Actin' Tinactin, and Athlete's Feet all over the world rejoiced. Oh, and he brought the Raiders a Super Bowl Crown, an achievement which clearly will not happen again in this century. He's in the Hall of Fame, again, kudos. He's made a boatload of cash for his efforts, and he's probably a lovely human in person, too. For all that you've got to tip your cap. But he had turned into a truly awful announcer and he made us all a little dumber for watching him. So, no, I won't miss John Madden. How about you?