Collinsworth to replace Madden on NBC

Cris Collinsworth will take over for the now retired John Madden in the broadcast booth for Sunday Night Football games.

Cris CollinsworthCollinsworth had the role before but never got to perform.

The former Cincinnati Bengals receiver, who got his TV break working NFL games not deemed worthy of airing in much of the USA, had worked his way up to lead analyst on Fox until NBC lured him back to work games on TV’s most-watched night. NBC’s Sunday night games would supplant Monday Night Football as the NFL’s marquee prime-time package.

Collinsworth sat out the 2005 season to wait for NBC’s 2006 kickoff. When Madden became available, a prospect no network has been known to resist, NBC suggested Collinsworth could still work the games — but doing play-by-play.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said Thursday that he didn’t want to talk about the analyst who would replace the only announcer to call Super Bowls on all four networks: “I just want to declare this ‘Celebrate John Madden Week.’ ” But then, Collinsworth is used to waiting.

Collinsworth is pretty solid as an analyst, but he can be hit and miss calling games. He has the tendency to be an obvious-stator, but as he gains more confidence and experience I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Hey, at least it’s not Bryant Gumbel.

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John Madden retiring from broadcasting


NBC made an announcement this morning that long-time NFL color commenter John Madden has decided to retire. Dick Ebersol also made an announcement of Madden’s retirement, but it’s unclear at this point whether or not this is effective immediately or if John will be in the broadcast booth through the 2009 season.

Details to follow as they’re released.

We’ve all laughed at the MadTV skits, the Frank Caliendo’s impersonations and the overall hilarity that comes with listening to a Madden broadcast. And if you’ve watched football long enough, there’s no doubt you’ve said to yourself many times throughout the course of a season, “What the hell is Madden talking about?”

But one thing is sure: John Madden has always known football. He might go off on long tangents about what people are eating in the stands or wear out his commenting pen trying to describe a play. But if you get through all of that, he knows the game and even in these latter years where you think he’s off his rocker, he was still always through out a great nugget or two that made you say, “You know what? Madden is right.”

Whether you like him or not, John Madden is an icon and a broadcast legend. Personally, I hope Madden gives us one more year in the booth before hanging it up.

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