The League

Jim McCormick
Blitz Magazine Publisher

Jim McCormick

The editor and publisher of Blitz Magazine

Man, Myth, Video Game

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John Madden is a legit legend in three arenas (four if you include eating). He's a Super Bowl winning coach, the name behind the most successful video game franchise ever and, of course, the most recognizable and transcendent voice in NFL broadcasting since Howard Cosell. And with this morning's announcement via NBC Sports, the "Turducken Man" has retired from the booth.

As a Philadelphia native I'm wondering if the passing of fellow legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas earlier this week bore some influence on Madden's decision. Kalas, just as Madden is, was 73 years old and spent decades enduring the road-weary schedule and grueling seasons. Clearly Madden was mulling retirement and very well may had made his decision prior to this week, but either way, it's the most significant combination of broadcasting losses I can ever remember in a single week.

Also, as with Kalas, we are lucky to have had Madden as the voice that carried us through so many great sporting moments. Fittingly, Madden's final game narration was the epic Super Bowl we enjoyed this past season. If some consider it the greatest Super Bowl and/or game of all-time, it's only right that Madden's dually stammering and charming monologues captured that night.

It's a bittersweet reality to lose such a comforting and fun voice in what is the greatest televised sport on the planet. On one hand, we lose our funny grandfather who seems to have lost a step (or three) over the past few seasons. Yet all the while the guy could make any moment his own with his Yogi Berra-esque quips that blended wonderfully with his often underrated brilliant and telling analysis.

Does Madden matter? Let's the count the ways. His love affair with Brett Favre embodied the hype machine that propelled "4" into a polarizing figure. His video game franchise is akin to George Foreman's grill empire, except there's no Foreman grill curse (unless you're Michael Scott). His comical use of the telestrator and invaluably nonsensical commentary consistently brought a smile to our faces.

As Madden explained in his press conference earlier today, he feels it's his time to go and we must respect his instincts. After all, we're talking about a guy who refused to fly and yet was the featured voice of the most powerful national brand in sports. The man crossed the country weekly in a bus sponsored by Outback Steakhouse. We're talking about a magical man here; can you think of a greater patriot than a man who commutes to work in a steak-filled bus on weekdays?

We have to respect that he always did it his way, even in retirement.

By Jim McCormick  |  April 16, 2009; 2:17 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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