So long, Coach Obvious

Published 10:17 pm Friday, April 17, 2009

I’m not a creature of habit. I prefer variety and change and a little something different in every single day. I love to try new foods and see and do new things.

But, when autumn leaves are falling, and kickoff rolls around for the football season, there are certain standards of life that I have come to expect. The same pot of chili in my crock pot, the same tray of wings on my stove and the occasional “Boom!” from an oh-so familiar voice doing the commentary.

Why am I talking football in springtime? For one, as I said, I like a little something different every now and then. Second, it seems that good old John Madden is retiring from broadcasting. That’s right, sports fans, the treasured old coach is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

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To put it mildly, John Madden means a lot to football and football fans. As the Super Bowl-winning coach of the Oakland Raiders, as a broadcaster and the namesake to his awesome line of video games — the best selling series of sports games ever — John Madden is the face of football for people of my generation.

Who can remember, or forget, the number of turkey legs coach Madden has bestowed upon players during Thanksgiving Day games, his award for the most valuable player of the game? And since I’m such a food guy, I can’t think John Madden without mentioning his love of turducken, which is of course, a chicken lovingly stuffed inside a duck, then just as lovingly crammed into a turkey, then roasted to heart-clogging perfection.

Madden’s persona and mannerisms have become so recognizable that they’ve achieved the highest form of flattery from comedians like Frank Caliendo, who does a spot-on impression of the old coach in commercials and comedy shows.

So, even when he would occasionally say irritatingly obvious things like “If the receiver catches the ball in the endzone, that’s, that’s, gonna be a touchdown,” we all love and laugh to hear him say them.

To me, it always seemed as if I were watching the game with my grandfather when Madden was calling it—funny, fundamental, and educational.

And though the old coach has changed my little fall routine a bit by calling it quits and I now have to settle for Chris Collingsworth — who is taking Madden’s place — I forgive him and wish the old coach a happy, restful retirement.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious to us for all these years, coach. I think we’ve got it from here.