The statements in praise of retiring John Madden keep rolling into the email, from Fox, from ESPN, from Al Michaels, Troy Aikman, Howie Long, from the NFL. There's a paste-up of them after the jump.
Al Michaels: John will always have a unique place in the history of pro football. No one has made the sport more interesting, more relevant and more enjoyable to watch and listen to than John. There's never been anyone like him and he's been the gold standard for analysts for almost three decades.
On a personal note, I'll miss working with John on many levels. As a broadcast partner, I could always count on him -- no one ever came to work more prepared. As a friend and confidante, loyalty has always been paramount to John. And all in all, he was simply just great company.
As John said today, 'it was time." That's John -- succint, pithy and right to the point. Working with John for the last seven years has provided memories I'll always treasure. My only regret is that it wasn't 27.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: There is one thing football fans have agreed on for decades: they all love John Madden.
John was a Hall of Fame coach before becoming one of the most-celebrated personalities in sports. He had an incredible talent for explaining the game in an unpretentious way that made it more understandable and fun.
John’s respect and passion for the game always stood out. He was the ultimate football fan who also happened to be an extraordinarily talented coach and broadcaster.
As namesake of the world’s most popular sports videogame, John also introduced the game of football to generations of young fans.
It is only fitting that his last game as an announcer was this year’s Super Bowl – the most-watched TV program of all-time. He is stepping down as a true Super Bowl champion.
ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer: "John Madden is a true legend and Hall of Famer who has put his imprint on the NFL in so many ways as a coach, broadcaster, ambassador, and as the face of the popular video game that bears his name. We thank him for the years he spent on Monday Night Football, and I personally thank him for his friendship. We will all miss his signature calls, his passion for the game and seeing him in the television booth each week of the NFL season, but his impact on the league and its fans will continue to be felt. I wish him all the best in his retirement."
FOX SPORTS CHAIRMAN DAVID HILL: "I am still in shock about John's announcement. He may well be 73, but he has the drive, enthusiasm and mental agility of a 24 year-old. John is, and has always been a powerful force of nature. A heady mix of wisdom, football lore, and boyish glee - an insatiable curiosity, and the God given ability to utilize his teacher training skills from so long ago to impart what we see, but don't see, on the football field. He always spoke as a knowledgeable friend, always speaking with and to the viewer, never at the viewer. When we started FOX Sports, he joyously embraced the credo Same Game - New Attitude, and everything we did. Computerized scoring, the Fox Box, the close up audio - everything we brought to the mix. The first down line, which has become the most necessary part of a broadcaster's tools, was a John Madden idea. I loved listening to him on FOX, I loved listening to him on NBC - just as I had loved listening to him on CBS. My bet is this retirement will be short, and that amazingly agile mind will be dreaming up new things to do!"
FOX SPORTS PRESIDENT ED GOREN: “John is an original. He's been the face of the NFL for three decades and by far and away the number one sports analyst on television. Amazingly, he's been so dominant that he's never been challenged. John’s impact on the way television covers the NFL is a legacy that will last well into the future. During the time I worked with him at CBS and FOX, he wasn’t just a lead analyst, John was always our ‘head coach.’”
NFL ON FOX LEAD ANALYST TROY AIKMAN: “John and I first met when I was player and our friendship grew closer when I went into broadcasting. He was always available and had great advice. My induction into the Hall of Fame was made even more special because we went in side-by-side. John’s the guy you want to sit next to during a game and, for thirty years, he essentially was. During a broadcast, you’d think he was talking directly to you. I, along with millions of other fans, will miss hearing an old friend on Sundays.”
FOX NFL SUNDAY ANALYST HOWIE LONG:“Millions of football fans have come to know John as a media icon who redefined not only NFL broadcasting but sports broadcasting across the board. John’s presence at a game came to signify that the game had great meaning to both the viewing audience and more importantly to the players who were participating in the game. Multiple generations of young football fans came to know the game of football and John through his video game. Trust me, I had many a late night waiting for one of my three boys to get home at 1:00 AM because the newest Madden game was being released at midnight. But the thing that I think of when I hear the name ‘John Madden’ is great coach, Hall of Fame coach. To me, that’s truly what defines who John is. He is a teacher and a coach and always will be. NFL Sundays just won’t be the same