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No one ever will match Madden's reach

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:26 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

I think it's best to leave the John Madden praising to others -- not that I didn't love the guy, but there are people out there who I think would do a better job of it.

But it's hard not to see how wide a scope Madden has reached as a football coach, as a broadcaster and as a giant in the gaming industry.

Hall of Famer John MaddenThe man won three-quarters of his games in the NFL, an unheard-of success rate, in a relatively brief but Hall of Fame-worthy career. He changed the way games were called on TV, for better or worse, and reached wide audiences in some of the biggest games over the past quarter century. And though I am not a gamer at all, I know how his impact on the most popular video game in history has made him an icon among even amongst the youngest generation of football fans.

Simply put, he's a giant. No one ever will reach an audience as wide as he will ever again. I hope we see Madden periodically in retirement -- whether or not you think he's a great broadcaster, he still holds great appeal for his personality and football knowledge. You know NBC will pay worthy tribute to him is some fashion -- likely during its first broadcast of the NFL preseason and in the Week One game between the Steelers and Titans that Al Michaels (and I think Cris Collinsworth) will call.

Your voice and unique perspective will be missed, John. Thanks. 

Here are a few people talking about Madden's legacy:

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." 

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones:

“I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who loves the NFL, or cares about the NFL, more than John Madden. As a friend, I know that John’s respect and passion for the sport will be the two elements of his legacy that matter the most to him. His imprint and impact on our game were powerful and meaningful. His influence on the sport was felt by everyone — the guys in the equipment room, the players, the coaches, the owners, and most importantly, the fans. He’s going out on top — as the best we have — and the best we have ever had.”

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol:

"I spent all day in the Bay Area yesterday with John and tried every way I could to make sure he was sure about his decision," said Ebersol. "And in true John Madden fashion, he was sure. He said it best when he simply said 'it's time' ... and I admire him for that.

"To put any speculation to rest, John has just decided to retire because it's time ˆ nothing more, nothing less. We will never see or hear another man like John Madden. We will sorely miss him because he was the most fun guy ever to just hang out with."

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