All this fun and you get paid, too!

I will level with you. I didn't think much of John Madden as an analyst, at least for most of the time I listened to him. I think his personality and presence warrants his position at the top of the broadcasting game. They did a lot. Madden was my first exposure to him when he first took over the CBS No. 1 chair, and then he moved to NBC, where he became aware of the phenomena and character that made him so beloved that he played into it more and more. He was more interested in mud, gut, and grass than he was in telling us what was going on.

He became more of a part of the show than he was telling. When he moved to NBC, he cinched his legacy and perhaps didn't feel like he had to live up to the character everyone knew anymore, we saw more of the analyst again. He was very good at it.

Madden had the knowledge to justify his place there, but also the balance of genuinely enjoying what he did. He may have leaned into the former too much. There have been so many Madden imitations that they never got that right. They try and belch out noises and phrases in a way that comes naturally to Madden. It is not about telling everyone how much fun you are having to the point where we wonder if they even believe it. It is supposed to be natural. You are getting paid to watch and talk about football for three hours. It is a steal. I think he gets closer to balance than most people give him credit for. There is something fake about him. Madden was not a fake, whatever you thought of him.

Madden sounded like a guy who couldn't believe he was getting paid for something, which is probably the biggest reason he was so beloved. It is supposed to be fun, and watching a game where the guy broadcasting it sounds like he is just as happy to be there as you are enhances that.

Madden also coached like that. He had a lot of knowledge about the Raiders job. The Raiders gained an outlaws-in-pads rep thanks to Al Davis trumpeting it with every fiber of his being, and Madden was used as a prime example. They just avoided the normal football bullshit. Madden meetings start five minutes before they start bullshit. It is football. It doesn't have to be complicated. Get here, work hard, win. Who cares about the rest? Madden had a.759 winning percentage. That is the best of all-time. He got there just cutting right to the heart of it, and he couldn't believe he was paid for it.

The best broadcasters find a balance without forcing it. The worst don't. Everyone hates John Smoltz because it sounds like he interrupted his golf game. You can hear the enjoyment in her voice because she can break down everything in a way anyone can understand. I would say the same for Jeff van Gundy. It is not a character. It is not forced. It is who they are. NBC broadcasts the coverage of the premier league. All of them seem to be having the time of their lives, even if Dixon complains a bit. He has a lot of fun complaining. That is a big reason the coverage of it by NBC and the Premier League has gone up in popularity over the years.

That is the reason why Madden was named Madden, and it is the reason why he lent his name to the most popular video game of all-time. Sports are more fun with games. Madden wanted to translate the way he saw it to a platform that didn't have it. The game was entertaining but authentic. Just like Madden. Look at how it went.

That is what it is supposed to be. It is why we are here.

Jeff Dickerson is retiring.

This will end on a personal note. Jeff Dickerson, who was a reporter for the Bears and other sports, died yesterday from cancer. He was 44 years old.

You can see a lot of notes about what a great guy and professional Jeff was. I can vouch for both of them. I was an intern for Jeff at the time. There were a few around that station who treated interns like shit, probably because they went through something like that, or they thought it was a test, or they genuinely thought that.

Not Jeff. Jeff made everything look fun and light because he was teaching me so much more than anyone else. He had a smile on his face. When he did, it was because someone else was treating the job like it was important, and usually Jeff would walk away and take me with him to work on something else. I wanted to treat the person with the job like a gift, and it was a great lesson to see that.

The host of the show complained about the stupidity of the industry and job as if it had just dawned on him that being stupid is what makes it great. It was like he found out he wasn't curing hunger. Another producer tried to convince him that what he did was important and not stupid. We went into the producer's booth to see Jeff practicing his swing with a hammer. That was Jeff.

He was happy that I had found success in my own way, and I ran into him a few times over the years. It has been a long time since. He showed me that I can do the things I want while being a good guy about it, and never hesitate to enjoy it. I followed that even when things get pretty bad here.

Jeff's wife passed away from cancer a couple years ago, and there's a fund for his son, if you'd like to donate.


The parkers' fund is on the

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I ask for your support.

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