"Holy Toledo!"

April 16, 2009

John Madden Announces Retirement!

Filed under: NFL, Oakland Raiders — Bill @ 10:23 am

John Madden, Hall of Fame head coach, author, video game mogul, and TV announcer is calling it quits. In a brief interview he stated, “It’s time. My grandkids are at the age now where they realize when I’m gone and when I’m not. This year is my 50th wedding anniversary. I had fun but that part of my life is over now. The thing that made it hard is that I enjoyed it so damn much. I know it’s the right thing to do.”

Madden left coaching after the 1978 season for health reasons. By 1981 he was CBS’s number one color commentator working with Pat Summerall. The very popular duo left CBS in ’94 for Fox.  In 2002 ABC lured Madden to their Monday Night Football package. When the NFL switched their Monday night games to ESPN for the ’05 season Madden & Al Michaels were hired by NBC to announce Sunday Night Football.

For years Madden would bus himself across country in the now famous “Madden Cruiser” due to his fear of flying. This fear began in 1960 as an assistant for Cal Poly. He was scheduled to fly with the team to a road game but his plans changed at the last minute. The team’s plane crashed in Toledo, OH and 16 members of the team were killed, many more were seriously injured. By chance his life was spared because of an injured player, he was the person chosen to remain at the school to assist the player in his rehabilitation.

To put his fans and friends at ease, and to dispel any potential rumors, Madden stated, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I have spent 50 years in football, I’ve loved every minute of it.” He said that he was seriously considering retirement last year at Super Bowl XLIII but that he wanted to go home and seriously consider his future.

Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL Draft, Madden played as an offensive lineman. Injuries limited his playing career to just one season, so he began coaching. In 1967 & ’68 he was the linebacker coach for the Raiders, and in 1969 at the age of 33 he became the league’s youngest head coach. During his 10 seasons as coach Madden’s record was an incredible 103-32-7, including 7 AFC West titles, 7 AFC Conference Championship appearances (5 in a row). He was the Coach of the Year in 1969, and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006.

Perhaps the most colorful color announcers ever, the man who made phrases like “bam”, “boom”, & “turducken” famous, he will certainly be missed. His first Super Bowl as an announcer was in January of ’82 between the 49ers and Bengals. Sixteen Emmy’s & millions of dollars earned, ironically much more than he ever made as a head coach for the Oakland Raiders, he has left his mark on the NFL. His proudest sports moment occurred in Super Bowl XI when his Raiders trounced the Vikings in 1977.

John Madden is 73 years old, he has two sons, five grandchildren, along with his wife Virginia. From now on your best chance to see him is strolling down a sidewalk in Carmel, CA.

*In July of 1982 I had the good fortune of meeting John along with Pat Summerall at the El Rancho Tropicana, the Raiders summer camp training facility in Santa Rosa, CA.. He was nice, friendly, and had the biggest head I’ve ever seen on a human. It was a thrill to meet coach Madden, a day I will always remember.

**ADDED LATER:  Heard an inresting story from the coach’s old friend Dick Ebersol:  “A young kid would approach John Madden and say “Hey Madden” because they grew up knowing him asthe guy who’s video game they always played.

If a guy said, “Hey John” he was probably between 25 to 40 yrs. old  and grew up listening to Pat Summerall always refer to him as John.

Now if a guy said “Hey Coach” I knew he was old like me and simply thought of him as the coach of the Raiders.”



  1. John Madden seemed to really love what he did for a living, especially for the last 30 years or so

    Comment by Nomad — April 22, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  2. We should all be so fortunate!

    John Madden’s first TV contract was for only 4 games at $3000 per game.

    I was paid $25 per game to do radio for Sonoma St. football & the high school game of the week for KTOB. It was great fun and certainly wasn’t about the money.

    Madden’s last contract paid him about $353,000 per game. I would have done it for slightly less…..


    Comment by Bill — April 23, 2009 @ 8:02 am


    Comment by UNCLE buck — April 27, 2009 @ 9:21 am

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