Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Jun 2005

Madden to Join NBC in 2006

John Madden will join NBC as a game analyst when the network begins televising its newly acquired Sunday night football package in 2006. I was kind of hoping NBC would think outside the box on this one -- bring in someone who's not a big name but has a lot of insight. Instead they go with Madden, still the most famous football broadcaster but a couple of decades past his prime.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 15 Jun 2005

20 comments, Last at 17 Jun 2005, 4:40pm by Burger


by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 2:08pm

Just so long as Bob Costas stays in the studio and doesn't do the play by play. i'd take more cowbell instead of Bob's play by play.

by Ray (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 2:40pm

Could be worse. I really didn't mind John and Al on MNF. I wonder who they'll team him up with this time... Hopefully someone respectible.

More important that where Madden ends up is what ESPN does about their crew.

by Vern (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 3:06pm

I think this signals NBC's intention to make the Sunday night game take on the "broad market" (not just sports fans) appeal that MNF was originally supposed to go after.

It seems likely ESPN will similarly alter MNF towards catering to the traditional sports enthusiasts that watch ESPN.

The downside is that ESPN annoucers in any sport have to be the absolute worst. As much as I hate Patrick/Maguire in football, Joe "overstate the obvious" Morgan for ESPN Baseball has to be even worse.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 3:09pm

there was a time (and granted, it was a LONG time ago now) when Madden really was the best color man on NFL broadcasts

it was before he became JOHN MADDEN, BOOM!

he was absolutely the best at analyzing line play, especially--while they would be reracking the tape for the replay, he'd say "watch the left guard on this play", and sure 'nuff, whatever the left guard did was the key to the play

as I say, that was before he became a star

the very first time I ever heard Madden on TV was a 1981 game between Altanta and the Browns, and the play-by-play announcer was (of all people) Vin Scully

they were a very entertaining team

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 3:55pm

Who wants to see John Madden, Dennis Miller, and Joe Theismann with a gallon jug of vodka call the Sunday Night games?

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 4:09pm

I'm hoping for a Madden/Marv Albert booth.

Madden: you sheee, Ray Lewis, thas a player whosh tuff like tough-actin tanactin. He hits the guy and *Boom* he stays hit.
Albert: Yesss
Madden: Heh, yea, Boom.
Albert *Chews on Madden's back-fat*

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 7:37pm

How do they choose who gets to be broadcasters, anyway?

I saw a minute of the intro to the World Bowl game on Saturday. Brian Baldinger was the play-by-play guy. In his intro (standing on the streets of Duesseldorf), he kept stuttering and stammering, and I never understood what he was trying to say. He's not good looking. I think that maybe he used to play for the Bears, but I don't think he was a star.

How did he get a job?

I think he does/did also cover NFL games for FOX, maybe?

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/15/2005 - 7:44pm

Also, Carl Banks sucks on NFL Radio on Sirius.

For the most part, ex-players suck as analysts. But I like Shannon Sharpe.

Also, most interviews of active players suck. They have nothing to say.

Former GM's and former coaches seem to be better at analysis.

Gil Brandt is good. He comes from a different angle than anybody else does. Dan Reeves is decent. Pat Kirwan is pretty good - where does he come from?

Sorry...I went a little off topic.

by yep (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 1:26am

Oh do I disagree on Carl Banks. You may not agree with Carl, but he articulates his opinion better than a lot of regular over air hosts. I'd take him over Shannon "voice cracker" Sharpe any day.

I never thought I'd live to see the day that I was disappointed in having to deal with Madden, again. What do we have to do to get an infusion of new talent around here anyway?

by Vern (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 10:13am

Bill Griffith (linked) adds more info about this in his media article. Looks like they want to pair him with Al Micheals again if possible, with Costas mentioned as important, but not specific role. Also says they want only a two man crew calling the game, so maybe they see Costas as a sort of emcee for the evening.

Also the bit about Madden being a draw due to his video game is interesting.

by TMK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 11:52am

Brian Baldinger is a leftover from the days of the Cowboy Broadcasting System, when it seemed CBS would put a mike in front of any ex-Dallas player who had all his teeth and no arrest record for at least five years. Sending him to Europe is probably the least exposure they could think of, while keeping him around for those all-important Cardinal-Lion games.

You might be thinking of Brian Baschnagel as an ex-Bear.

by Devin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 12:02pm

Madden is OK; but we really need to fire all of the ESPN football announcers!

As for comment #1, is the lead singer of Iron Maiden reading Football Outsiders?

by JayHak (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 12:40pm

Vern you are probably right about NBC trying to appeal to the broad demo. ABC laid the groundwork but didn't take it far enough to actually work.

They obviously weren't bold enough. NBC execs plan to round out the new NBC team thusly:

Color man:
Madden - beer swilling middle aged guys that remember fondly when Madden was actually good. They frequently yell "BOOM!" themselves at inappropriate times and have their very own home telescriptor kit.

Play by play
Star Jones - pulls in the female AND black demographic in one fell swoop. Kapow!!

Sideline reporters
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey: MTV teeny bopper crowd and young-ish metrosexuals.

Intelligent football fans are left out in the cold, but NBC suits reasoned "No worries, they obviously keep watching no matter who the networks throw in front of them." Sadly, they are correct.

by Burger (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 1:09pm

Baldinger was a lineman for the Eagles a while ago. I believe he is most known for that during his playing days. He pops up once a week on local cable during the football season.

Brian still works for FOX. FOX is the network for the World League (is that whats it
s called?) in europe. Therefore i'm not surprised he worked the World Bowl.

by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 3:37pm

Oh do I disagree on Carl Banks. You may not agree with Carl, but he articulates his opinion better than a lot of regular over air hosts.

I feel his comments are pretty empty. Unwilling to be harsh on those who deserve it. I will try and open mindedly judge him next time I hear him.

by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 3:47pm

I read the article that "Vern" linked to. I guess I hadn't heard before that NBC will be choosing which games it broadcasts on Sunday night as the season progresses. I am mixed on that idea. At first, I thought it was great. But, even though people complained about some of the old ESPN and TNT games being dogs because a couple of sub-500 teams were paired up in November, that didn't prevent them from being good games. It also gives you a chance to watch a game and focus on a lesser team that you might not otherwise see.

Is NBC limited to the number of time they can show a team per season in that slot? Or, are they going to have the Cowboys there every week?

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/16/2005 - 4:07pm

Madden and Michaels were probably the best combination of the set that we had last year.

That's not saying they're great. That's just the sad state of what we had.

Honestly, though, Madden and Michaels work well together. Madden tends to slip on a few things nowadays, and Michaels tends to correct him without even missing a beat.

Heck, I'm glad to have Madden around just in the hope that he might triangulate the position of where the Immaculate Reception occurred again, so I can here him answer "No, I'm not obsessed" as he stares down at a space in a parking lot.

by Doug (not verified) :: Fri, 06/17/2005 - 8:09am

Remember about 15-20 years ago when NBC broadcast an announcerless game? Jets-Bills or Jets-Dolphins I think... Maybe someone can give that a shot again

by El Angelo (not verified) :: Fri, 06/17/2005 - 2:50pm

Here's a random dumb question: Madden has now been employed by CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. Has anyone else in sports pulled this off?

by Burger (not verified) :: Fri, 06/17/2005 - 4:40pm

I just read the article that Vern linked from boston.com. not really a big story but a nice article.

one question... why do journalists insist on ending articles with cute little quips ? this one ended :
"But he'll be doing it by bus. The train left the station years ago"

nothing in the article is comedic, so why end it with something Corny, in my opinion.

maybe i'm just being too picky, but today seems to be slow. just wanted everyone else's opinion.