Make us your home page

Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

John Madden's road show won't include Tampa Bay



Wednesday's Shooting from the Lip ...

Madden Raw deal of the day
You've probably heard by now that NBC's John Madden will not be calling Sunday night's game at Raymond James Stadium, marking the first time in 28 years (476 games) that Madden will take a day off from work. It would make two cross-country trips in as many weeks for the 72-year-old Madden and NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol suggested he take the week off.

"It's just a week to rest my best player,'' Ebersol told the Washington Post.

At first, it didn't seem to be a big deal, seeing as how the guy never has missed a game. But upon further review, it is a big deal. NBC's Sunday night broadcasts have become this generation's Monday Night Football. Madden is the reason why. He's a huge star and it's a rotten deal for Bucs fans that he is not coming to Tampa Bay and giving us all his take on the Bucs.

It's the reason that rubs me the wrong way. Madden told the Post, "I still enjoy the travel, but you'd like to be home once in a while. … It's a quality-of-life issue.''

If Madden were sick, it would be understandable. If he had a family function -- a special anniversary or a child's wedding or a grandchild's graduation from high school or something -- then you could give him a pass. But why isn't he coming? Essentially, the explanation is he just doesn't feel like it. Never mind that he isn't actually driving the bus from California that would bring him to the game, but the only reason he is taking the bus to begin with is because he won't get on a plane. Madden is afraid to fly.

No one is suggesting Madden's job is easy. He's good because he works hard. But still, the bulk of his job is calling a football game for three hours once a week for five months a year. And he needs a break from that? And the kicker: NBC isn't showing a game the Sunday after the Bucs game, so Madden will now have two weeks off. He won't call a game until Nov. 2.

Maybe there's more to the story. Maybe Madden is completely exhausted and his health is an issue. If that's the case, it's understandable that he takes care of himself. But if it's just because he doesn't want to make the trip, or doesn't feel like working, that's not good enough. Can you imagine Jon Gruden saying, "You know, I just don't feel like coaching this week. I'm going to take the week off?'' It really is no different.

Perhaps we're a bit sour because we love Madden's work so much and we're disappointed he's not coming here. Maybe if he were skipping some other team's game, we wouldn’t care. But Madden is not coming to Tampa Bay and, well, that stinks.

Best suggestion
NBC's Cris Collinsworth is replacing Madden as Al Michaels' partner in the booth Sunday night for the Bucs-Seahawks game. But Bright House Sports Network's Joe Girvan had a good line about who should replace Madden: "They should get (impersonator/comedian) Frank Caliendo.''’ Girvan is right. Caliendo sounds more like Madden than Madden.

Check it out:

Madden's replacement
So with Cris Collinsworth set to fill in for John Madden on Sunday night, does that mean Collinsworth is Madden's heir apparent when the big guy steps down for good? Don't count on it. Collinsworth told the sports Web site, Deadspin, that he would prefer staying at home watching his children grow up as opposed to flying around the country calling games.

Station of the day
Tampa Bay's ESPN Radio made a major move Tuesday, switching from 1470-AM to 1040-AM. The new frequency more than triples the potential audience to more than 2-million people, according to its owners, Genesis Communications. The new ESPN 1040 will continue to simulcast on 1470-AM throughout the fall. Tampa Bay's ESPN Radio carries national shows such as Mike and Mike in the Morning and Colin Cowherd as well as local shows hosted by The Killer B’s and the afternoon drive-time show Brantley and the Babe, hosted by Scot Brantley and the Fabulous Sports Babe. While 620-AM continues to dominate the sports radio market with shows such as Ron and Ian, the Jim Rome Show and the afternoon drive show hosted by Steve “Big Dog’’ Duemig, ESPN’s move to 1040-AM is good one, if for nothing else than more people will be able to pick up the signal.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:42pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours