For the Love of Madden

The goal is not simply to get to the Super Bowl. The goal is to win the Super Bowl. This seemingly obvious assertion was delivered like a Biblical rumination from the sage himself, John Madden, in an NBC Sports conference call with reporters on Tuesday. It’s the latest in a long line of Maddenisms, ranging from the obvious (”When your arm gets hit, the ball is not going to go where you want it to,”) to the downright Taoist (”You never want to go backwards in the endzone.”)

What’s John Madden’s appeal? His histrionic exclamations. His video games (Madden ‘94 for life). The fact that he makes us believe, if only for a fleeting instant, that we could be an NFL coach and probably do a halfway decent job.

Love for John Madden is the love for a sometimes bumbling but usually endearing uncle (in this case, one who happened to win a Super Bowl ring and practically invented the telestrator). He spends the better part of six months in a custom-designed bus (he has a famous fear of flying) that, at one time, was sponsored by the Outback Steakhouse. If the Super Bowl is ever held in Hawaii he’ll be there via cruise ship. The guy knows how to live.

For all the friendly jabs thrown his way Madden is a sports broadcasting icon. In a day when seemingly every NFL coach takes the express shuttle from the field to the broadcast booth (Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy make their Super Bowl talking heads debuts Sunday), Madden still stands out.

He is in Tampa this week preparing to broadcast his 11th Super Bowl. He will become the first person to broadcast the game for all four networks. And if the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals know what’s good for them, they’ll take Madden’s advice and play to win the game.

There are lots of great Maddenisms floating around out there.  Feel free to comment and post some of your favorites!