The Washington Times - April 16, 2009, 12:25PM

When John Madden switched from Fox to NBC in 2006, it seemed like he might go on analyzing NFL games forever. So even though the Hall of Fame coach is 73, his retirement from broadcasting this morning came as a surprise.

      Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl title in 1976, went out by calling the Pittsburgh Steelers’ narrow championship victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the same game 32 years later.


      What a great career. I’m glad I was one of the selectors who voted to enshrine Madden in the Hall of Fame three years ago. And that had nothing to do with his success as a broadcaster — 16-time Emmy Award winner Madden and the only person to be the lead football analyst for CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC — or as the originator of the most popular sports video game, John Madden Football.

    Here’s the statement Madden issued via NBC:

“It’s time. I’m 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall. I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I’m home and, more importantly, when I’m not… It’s been such a great ride… the NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion – it still is. I appreciate all of the people who are and were such an important part of the most enjoyable, most fun anyone could have… that great life with the teams, the players, the coaches, the owners, the League… my broadcasting partners Pat and Al… the production people and the fans…is still great… it’s still fun and that’s what it makes it hard and that’s why it took me a few months to make a decision. I still love every part of it – the travel, the practices, the game film, the games, seeing old friends and meeting new people… but I know this is the right time.”

        And here’s the just-issued statement from 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.”

      There’s only one John Madden. The squiggels on the telestrator and the exclamations of “Boom” and such will never be the same.

— David Elfin