John Madden, one of the sports most decorated announcers and greatest coaches, announced his retirement on Thursday. With this announcement he officially ended a storied career that seemed to tailspin in the last decade. Yet it didn’t fit Madden’s style to think about his retirement that way.
“I love grinders,” he said when asked about his favorite part of the announcing job. “You just get all these free submarine sandwiches, these grinders, and go through them and when it’s all over, you think about it. That’s what I’ll miss the most…the sandwiches.”
Madden’s exuberance for football and blue-collar persona endeared him to TV viewers for twenty years, and annoyed them for the last ten.
“I’m so thrilled he’s leaving. I felt like he was really just calling it in for the last few years,” said longtime broadcast partner Pat Summerall. “At the Super Bowl he wasn’t even paying attention to the game. All he did was eat his sandwiches and watch two interns play Tiger Woods PGA Tour.”
Madden said his health is fine, but at the age of 73, he wanted to spend more time at home. “The thing that made it hard is: ‘Is it the right decision?’ But I enjoyed it so damn much,” Madden said. “I really liked getting those free sandwiches.”
Cris Collinsworth, who will replace Madden, has been partying in his basement with Bob Costas and Stuart Scott since the announcement. He was unable to be reached for comment.
Dick Ebersol called Madden “a mediocre sports broadcaster and best example of a ‘human garbage disposal’ who ever lived.”
“He will eat anything he can get his hands on,” Ebersol said. “I’m not kidding. Once he tried eating my microphone when he dropped his stupid grinder on my shoe.”
Now that he’s retired Madden expects to sit at home all the time, except when he’s busy with his many endorsements. His Madden NFL Football is the top-selling sports video game of all time, and is in negotiations with Quiznos to become their official spokesman.
“I haven’t done shit for the video game in like 7 years. I was shocked they still made them,” said Madden. “As for the Quiznos deal, I’m really just in it for the free grinders.”
Madden won 16 Emmy Awards and became one of the most recognizable voices in television, mixing high-volume over-enthusiasm with blindingly obvious analysis on the telestrator.
“He was like a double edged sword— that guy you really wanted to come to your house to watch the game because he brought free food,” Ebersol said. “But, after a while you kind of get tired of him making the obvious calls, and reiterating exactly what you just said. At that point you realize no matter how good the free meal is, you’d rather just eat a bag of Doritos alone and watch the game in peace.”
Madden said he waited until two months after the season to determine whether to continue, not wanting to rush into a decision. “The last game I did was the Super Bowl, which was pretty good,” Madden said. “Or so I’ve heard. I don’t really recall. I know I was there, and I remember talking. Was it about the game? I can’t say for sure. To be honest every game I’ve ever called is just a big blur to me.”
When Madden had second thoughts he decided to call Ebersol to discuss the option of him finishing his 6 year contract. Ebersol flew to California on Wednesday morning and spent 11 hours with Madden, trying to persuade him to change his mind. A deal was struck when Ebersol agreed to let Madden come over every week for Monday Night Football to do the play by play in Ebersol’s kitchen while eating free food.
“It’s a small price to pay to keep him off TV,” Ebersol said, while wiping away tears. “Just let the world know of my sacrifice.”
When asked how he was going to prepare for Madden spending so much time at his home every Monday night, Ebersol laughed. “Prepare? He’s been coming to my house every week since we struck the deal! I don’t think he really knows when the season begins; he’s just been showing up at my house every Monday commentating on my grandkids game of Madden 09 and eating my food. One visit from John costs me up to $1,000 in grocery bills.”
“Now if you’ll excuse me, Ebersol said, “I need to go get enough groceries to sustain John's next visit. We ran out of food last week and he tried to eat Ziggy, my miniature Dachshund. I can’t let that happen.”
When asked for a comment, Madden said, “Oh yeah…I’m going to eat the shit out of that wiener dog…BOOM!”