If you love football, chances are that John Madden had a hand in establishing your appreciation of the game, either as an over-enthusiastic and iconic color commentator from 1979-2008 for CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC or as the face and more recently the name attached to EA Sports’ Madden Football franchise. And that’s to say nothing about the 10 years he spent leading the Raiders as their coach, as they won one Super Bowl and 103 games.
My point is that Madden, who turns 79 today, is football, and even though he’s fed thousands of valuable insights to armchair quarterbacks by way of their TV sets, he’ll probably be equally remembered as the Godfather of the Turducken, a Tinactin pitchman, and for all of the weird and wonderful flubs for which Will Ferrell’s biggest fan is responsible. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the best quotes and a few glorious clips that display the essence of John Madden to the masses:
“Have you ever seen a defensive back with a good personality who was any good?”
It’s a good quote that becomes a GREAT quote because Madden is smacking down Pat Summerall’s polite praise of Burt Reynolds, actor/mustache model/former defensive back who Summerall apparently coached at Florida State University.
“Playing in this nice weather really makes me remember all the times I got stung by a bee.”
How many times, John?
“One thing that Tillman is really good at is stripping the ball. He’s one of the better strippers in all of the NFL.”
Madden picked up on what he said immediately and barely stifled a giggle. Which, in many ways, took all the beauty out of this flub for me.
“There’s always been like a mother and father. This is the father bucket, this is the mother bucket, and since the last game, they had a baby bucket.”
Apparently, Madden has an insane belief that buckets can procreate. Which is something that, I suppose, involves spigots and maybe careful stacking?
“Here’s a guy who can use his arms and legs at the same time.”
Madden is equipped to be a judge on Dancing with the Stars.
“When you get on that sideline, you have to unload on Payton because you know he’s going to load on you. And that’s what Johnson’s saying, “I can’t just stand there and let him unload on me.” Now watch Walter as he comes up there just before he goes out of bounds, watch him Al, he switches the ball… now he’s going to unload with that right arm, so Johnson has to get his load ready to go load to load. And the fans boo when you do that. […] If a guy’s loading up on you, you’ve gotta load up on him.”
Madden then immediately transitions to an observations about William “Refrigerator” Perry: “I’ve always noticed that when a guy gets his weight down, he starts wearing a lot of t-shirts.” Noted.
“The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”
“He feels the pressure real, and the pressure imagined.”
Then “he” may have a head injury.
“I’ve never eaten just a few bites of things I liked in my life.”
“To me, discipline in football occurs on the field, not off it.”
Some quotes don’t exactly stand the test of time.
“Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.”
Yeah, he retired at the right time.
“Don’t worry about the horse being blind. Just load the wagon.”
Even John Madden doesn’t know what the hell this phrase means.
Alright, this isn’t a quote, but he did draw a penis on our TV once.