Madden's role extends beyond coaching career
Published: Friday, April 24, 2009
Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 23:02
Boom! When some people hear that word, they think of dynamite. Others think of gunshots. Not me. When I hear that word I think of one person, John Madden, who retired from broadcasting last week. Madden would commonly yell, "boom," "whap" and "bang" during games and, no, I have no clue what "whap" means.
Before gaining popularity from video games or as an announcer, he was a Super Bowl-winning coach. However, his career after sports dwarfs his career coaching. The only other example who comes close is George Foreman. During Foreman's boxing career he was one of the most feared fighters in the world. Now, after his sports career, he is known for two things: naming all five of his sons George (how could that go wrong?) and the George Foreman Grill, which has sold more than 80 million units.
One of my favorite things about watching games Madden announced was waiting for him to say something stupid. The game would be moving along and all of a sudden Madden would say, "Here's a guy, that when he runs, he goes faster." I call them "Thanks, John" moments because every time he would say something like that, all my friends would sarcastically thank John for his football wisdom. These moments would happen a few times a game and would never get old.
For most college guys, Madden has been a big part of our lives for many years. He was with me when I stayed up until 3 a.m. playing Madden 2000 the night before high school proficiency tests, when I was staying up too late watching a primetime game instead of working on my paper. I can pretty much blame him for killing my GPA in high school.
Madden Football is one of the best selling video game franchises of all time. It also was known to bring out the best in everyone. In high school two kids were playing a close game that was eventually decided by a glitch. The two players decided to do the grown-up thing and fight over a video game, which ended with someone spiking the controller off the others head. I mean, who needs to fight over girls when you've got John Madden Football.
To go with causing friendship-ending fistfights, Madden is also responsible for the popularity of an obscure Thanksgiving meal- the turducken. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. This Frankenstein version of your traditional Thanksgiving meal is a combination of turkey, duck and chicken that sometimes has as many as eight legs. Madden would award a drumstick to the most valuable players of the games, an event that made Pilgrims roll over in their graves.
To go with making mutated meals popular, there are a lot of people who have Madden to thank for putting their careers on track. Perhaps no one benefited more than comedian Frank Caliendo. Caliendo's role as John Madden in the MAD TV skit for the Quick Pop Popcorn Popper was not only a breakout performance, but was a rare time MAD TV was funny. Caliendo's impression was a hit and it led to visits on late night shows like Dave Letterman. Eventually Caliendo ended up getting his own show on TBS called Frank TV, which was almost a bigger disaster than A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.
John Madden has had quite a career. He had the best selling John Madden Football, a Super Bowl title and a distinguished 30-year announcing career to top it off. He accomplished things people spend their lifetimes trying to achieve. Who else could get away with butchering the English language and jumpstarting impersonators' careers while being at the peak of their profession? Well, other than George W. Bush, of course.