The NFL is poorer already for the absence of
His appearance belied his ability. He was larger than life and a winner at seemingly everything he touched.
You could dress him in a network blazer and style his hair. A couple of minutes later, he'd be rumpled. He looked like a guy in a bar after work, sleeves rolled up, his attention riveted on the game.
He didn't wear his football heart on his sleeve; instead, it oozed out of every pore.
Madden was an American original who lived the life of every fan who thinks he (or she) knows more than the coach or the announcers working the game.
"I always felt I was the luckiest guy in the world,'' said Madden.
"I remember telling
"This will be the first time since I was a freshman in high school that I'll have a football season off.''
He'll be missed, especially by his NBC Sunday Night Football partner
"On a personal note, I'll miss working with John on many levels. As a broadcast partner, I could always count on him -- no one ever came to work more prepared. As a friend and confidante, loyalty has always been paramount to John. And all in all, he was simply just great company.
"As John said today, ''it was time.' That's John -- succinct, pithy and right to the point. Working with John for the last seven years has provided memories I'll always treasure. My only regret is that it wasn't 27.''
Michaels wasn't the only one singing Madden's praises on the heels of the announcement.
"I am still in shock about John's announcement," said FOX Sports Chairman
"When we started FOX Sports, he joyously embraced the credo Same Game -- New Attitude, and everything we did. Computerized scoring, the Fox Box, the close up audio -- everything we brought to the mix. The first down line, which has become the most necessary part of a broadcaster's tools, was a John Madden idea. I loved listening to him on FOX, I loved listening to him on NBC -- just as I had loved listening to him on CBS. My bet is this retirement will be short, and that amazingly agile mind will be dreaming up new things to do!"
Said former Cowboys quarterback and current analyst
Here's what others are saying:
Unfortunately, it was decided at the last minute that the final regular-season telecast would be Denver-San Diego instead of Miami-N.Y. Jets so Madden had a day with his wife in New York before heading West again on "The Madden Bus.''
"I basically left home in the bus in August and didn't come home until January,'' said Madden, who doesn't travel by airplane. "I loved the games, the players, the coaches, the film, the travel and everything about it.''
"At some point you have to do this [retire]. I got to that point.''
Before February's Super Bowl XLIII, which would turn out to be his final game, the
"I wish I'd been as sharp at 40 as he is at 73,'' said the 61-year-old Ebersol. "That article was bull----. He was and is the best. I was in the [production] truck for every game but one that he's done in three years [at NBC]. I heard his attention to detail in off-air exchanges. Anyone who heard him and Al in the pressurized fourth quarter of the Super Bowl knows that he deserved the rave reviews they got for the game. And he was the same way every week, even in a game that turned out to be a slaughter in October.''