Why Cris is the Right Guy to Replace John Madden
Originally Aired: Thursday, April 16, 2009. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
Sunday Night Football lost a giant today when John Madden announced today that he is retiring from broadcasting. All is not lost, however, since it was also announced today that Cris Collinsworth will be replacing Madden in the booth. You have to feel bad for Collinsworth. He will be constantly compared to John Madden in viewer’s minds, and there’s no way anyone can be as good as Madden. Yet Collinsworth is the right guy for the job.
Ironically, he is in some ways the anti-Madden. Madden was a big offensive lineman while Collinsworth is a skinny former wide receiver. But if Collinsworth is as thin as a pencil, he’s also as sharp as one. He received a law degree after retiring from the NFL, and he understands the game as well as anybody. When he called a wild card playoff game last year, he pointed out how Cardinals defensive lineman Bertrand Berry was able to get into the backfield so often through a variety of moves. That’s Madden-esque. Equally importantly, he tells it like it is. Too many announcers today paint a rosy picture out of America’s most violent game. If a lineman missed a block, they tell us how he tries harder than anyone. If a coach made a dumb move, they tell us how the coach is such a nice guy. If an official blew a call, they tell us how officials have such a tough job but they usually get calls right. Collinsworth doesn’t care about any of that. He’ll let you know when a player made an other-worldly play, but he’ll also tell you when someone messed up. Critics note that sometimes he’ll exaggerate a point just to be sensational. That may be true, but at least he’s basically right most of the time.
It’s sad to know the only place we’ll be able to hear John Madden anymore is on an old video game. But if we can’t hear Madden Sunday nights, at least we can hear the next best.