The League

Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Madden Spans Generations, Platforms


John Madden is one of the most important men in the history of the game of football. I know John Madden as the guy in the booth. Madden called games at the highest level for 30 years, so my existence on this planet doesn't know NFL football before John Madden was in the booth calling it.

Older generations know Madden as a player, then as a coach. All I know are stories and old movies about those days which means that for more than three decades John Madden hasn't been part of any NFL organization, and STILL, he has been one of the most influential figures in this, or any, sport.

He was larger than life in the booth, and for a long stretch of time in my formative years, Madden was larger than the game he was covering. You knew it wasn't just a big game -- but the game of the week -- if Madden and Pat Sumerall were calling the game. When someone else came on your screen to welcome you to Sunday's contest, your head sunk a little, because you knew the game wasn't as important as wherever that giant bus was parked.

You'll hear people say that Madden's name transcends the sports world, using the example that a generation of kids only know Madden from his video game legacy, not knowing that he was a player, coach or commentator. Personally, as one of those kids who lived for John Madden Football every year, I think that's short-sighted.

Kids know who John Madden is. Everyone knows who John Madden is. And the fact that he's been putting out the best sports video game every year for the last 21 years (I'm sure the folks at EA Sports have helped a bit) will keep his legacy going strong for years after his last call in the booth. He's not 'the video game guy.' He's the extended voice of the NFL. I still remember playing the first Madden NFL for Genesis and then SNES.

In fact, the first song I ever learned on my bass guitar was the Madden theme song, true story, and 15 years later I'm sure I could still play it. In fact, I can remember the graphics from nearly every incarnation of that game. Nothing was better than the addition in '92 of the ambulance. Just brilliant.

The older generations will remember Madden on the field -- be it in uniform on patrolling the sidelines. I'll remember John Madden for a lot of other things. I'll remember the All-Madden team, which is still my favorite made-for-TV sports show of all time. I actually thought they should use the All-Madden team as the Pro Bowl rosters, because Madden knew the kind of player I wanted to see play football. I'll remember his turduckens and all the talk about food. And I'll remember all those innovations every year that helped make the video game industry what it is today.

Check out this montage G4 put together last year... it shows it all.

By Dan Levy  |  April 17, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  | Category:  Dan Levy , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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