One of Cal Poly’s biggest names has announced his retirement from the booth after decades of legendary service to all football fans in America. Last Thursday, John Madden, arguably football’s greatest voice, officially announced he would not be returning to the broadcasting booth for the 2009-2010 season.
Most of our generation of sports fans probably remembers Madden for his voice on Monday Night Football or his increasingly popular video game that made most kids who have never put on a football helmet actually know something about the game. But it’s not just the voice on Monday nights and the video game that we should remember him by. The fact is that if you look at Madden’s entire football career from start to finish, he may boast the greatest football resume of all time. And it all started here.
Madden transferred to Cal Poly from the University of Oregon as an education major, instantly achieving football greatness. He played on both sides of the line and was eventually named to the all-conference team for his play on the offensive side of the ball. He set himself apart from the rest of the playing field in 1958 when the Philadelphia Eagles took him in the 21st round of the NFL draft. Just as football greatness was in arm’s reach for him, he was plagued by a knee injury in the first year of training camp and he never saw the field.
Before I heard that he retired, I had no idea that John Madden never put on the pads and helmet on Sundays at the professional level. I just assumed he had. And I think this is where his fame gets its legitimacy. This guy has left one of the greatest marks on professional football history without even playing a down for a professional team.
His Hall of Fame career began in 1967 when he was named head coach of the Oakland Raiders. And the success just seemed so natural. During his 10 years behind the reigns of one of the nastiest franchises in the NFL, Madden set numerous milestones that other coaches would be happy to only get a piece of. His coaching resume includes: the league’s highest winning percentage as a coach (including playoffs), the youngest coach to win 100 games, a winning record every season, and a Super Bowl grand finale.
Now, most guys end their Hall of Fame run once they leave the field, player or coach. John, however, took it one step further. And this is probably how most of our generation knows him. We all know him as the voice of Sunday Night Football as well as Monday Night Football. In fact, he is the only color announcer to talk us though the games on all four major networks. Finally, on April 16, 2009, John Madden announced his retirement from the sports broadcasting field saying “It’s time.”
I know not everyone is that sad to see him go. It’s not like it’s going to make watching Sunday Night Football any less fun. It’s just hard to look at what this guy has done for football and not be amazed.
It has seemed lately that towards the end of his career, Madden took a little heat and criticism from people concerning his color commentary. I will admit, I think he was maybe a little behind this generation’s game. I think that maybe his quirks and unique style of commentary didn’t have the same profound effect on today’s young generation of fans compared to his earlier days as a commentator.
But it’s that uniqueness behind the microphone that we’ll remember him by. His quick-witted delivery and almost casual approach to the game is certainly a trademark to remember.
I think it should be noted that his last call was at the memorable Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and Cardinals. It’s not a bad way to go out, calling Santonio Holmes’ last-minute game-winning grab in the corner of the endzone.
And don’t worry, all of you video game addicts, they haven’t said anything about the video game being retired.
Tyler Jauch is a political science sophomore and a Mustang Daily guest columnist.