Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is John Madden still Nirvana on KCBS?

I make it a point to listen to John Madden every weekday morning at 8: 15 on KCBS.

Madden is still a good daily dose of authenic Bay Area radio with sports, of course, as the main topic source, but Madden sort of transcends merely sports.

Or does he?

I say that because a good reason why KCBS pays the former coach and broadcaster a greal of money to do a five-minute or so schmooze is that he brings in the so-called "casual fan." A lot of listeners And a whole lot of men and even women too.

But is Madden losing his appeal? I don't think so. He has his good and bad days. I wrote a few weeks back that his annual June BBQ for a few KCBS air people and sponsors too was just too much largesse. I got a significant amount of e-mail that was also critical of an entire segment devoted to the event. An in-house event that completely contradicted the real essense of Madden's appeal: his joe six-pack image and regualr guy aw-shucks.

That's a small blemish in an othwerwise entertaining franchise that Madden has evolved into on KCBS' Monday-Friday morning news block, (and repeated in the afternoon). Madden is best when providing non-sugar-coated answers. Asked by anchor Stan Bunger about the Warriors planned move to SF in the coming years, Madden said that was bull. "Oakland needs to fight for the Warriors." It was refreshing and devoid of the usual rah-rah banter that is so much a part of the current topical arena.

I'm wondering what you think. To those of you, like me, that likes Madden, do you still listen every day? Are there some of you who are not a fan? Give me your thoughts.

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  1. Madden is still fascinating to listen to because he's truly interested in sports, especially the NFL, and he cares about the people involved. Plus, he speaks with a passion and always has some interesting take on what's going on.

    I remember when he was coaching the Raiders that he had 3 rules:
    1.) Show up on time. 2.) Pay attention when I'm talking to you. and 3.) Play like heck for me on Sunday.

    Grown men play in the NFL, (there are some exceptions unfortunately, but they usually don't last unless they mature or get help), and they appreciated Madden's giving them the responsibility to act like adults.

    The Raiders of that era (the 1970s) were not really that much different a group of people than many of the other teams in the NFL. But the media loved to portray them as 'Renegades' and 'Misfits,' or as Madden put it: "Simplify them."

    How could you simplify someone as complex as Al Davis? Or Ken Stabler? Or Otis Sistruck? Or Ted Hendricks? They were characters, but they were not the cardboard cutouts that marketing people or writers and broadcasters sometimes like to portray.

    The best measure of a guy like John Madden, is how many friends he has in the game. He is close and was close to many in the NFL. Last year, Madden was, along with Bob St Clair, Y.A. Tittle and George Seifert, among a small group that showed up for the memorial service of Niners' Hall of Fame running back Joe Perry, one of the Niners greatest players from the 1950s.

    Sure, John has a personality and an ego that befits his size, but he's also a good man. Football fans were fortunate that he broadcast the game for so many years. And the late Al Davis was lucky to have had him coach those great teams back in the 1970s. Those teams were a lot of fun to watch!

  2. Luvs To Read RichJune 26, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    I listen to Madden everyday, too. My only problem with him is his constant and repetitive speech patterns. His favorite phrase is "that's the thing" ... and in every sentence he says "you know" ... sometimes multiple times. You would think that someone of his stature and network exposure would have outgrown this or a speech coach would have cured him of this a long time ago. Anyone else hear this? It happens all the time.

  3. I love the Madden and the Madden-era Raiders.

  4. The Raiders of the 1970s are a piece of NFL history that will never be duplicated.

    1. Steeler's did more than duplicate...Raider's played second fiddle in that decade to Pittsburgh.

      Great head to head battles and those teams hated each other...but please, as good as Oakland was...Pittsburgh WAS the team of the 70's.

  5. Like Bill Walsh, John Madden was able to lead players into battle and motivate them to play. They did it through superior leadership skills.

  6. I imagine some people listen to and enjoy Madden's "largesse" as you call it, the same way they read tabloids to see what $$$ handbag what celebrity is holding or what private island they vacation on. It transfers us to a world we can only dream of being part of. Listening to Madden speak of tri tip or whatever two hundred dollar bottle of wine he is serving is appealing to some and pure irritation for others. That said, his "regular Joe" schtick is at his roots. Good boy from PA who made it big. Can't get negative on him for flaunting one time what kind of BBQ the man can afford to throw.

  7. His fishing around "y'know y'know y'know" is part of his charm. He has a sideways glance at things that's always a refreshing individual perspective, which is why people still tune in in the huge numbers.

    And anonymous 9:58...he's from Daly City...just fyi.

  8. Madden is great on radio, he should do a segment with Gary Radnich on KNBR. That will be very entertaining.

    1. It should be noted that the reason Madden left KNBR after Frank Dill retired was because he would not work with Steve McPartlin or his successor in the morning, who turned out to be Gary Radnich. Not his style.

  9. It should be remembered that the guy who started Madden on his Bay Area radio gig was the GREAT Emperor Gene Nelson...

  10. Can't stand him. The best thing to happen to football since the helmet was him leaving the booth. While there were times I found him insightful, the one thing he never learned to do was shut-up. He would talk constantly. While I never enjoy listening to him, I do retrospect him for his accomplishments and knowledge of the game.

  11. To 11:06 Anon:

    Don't think so. While I respect what Madden accomplished with Oakland, I find his segments tedious. Also Gary has ripped him over the years for the many commercial endorsements John has pocketed.

    But then with Mr Rad(u)nich, it's all about the money.

  12. Madden's take on strategic situation is quite simple. He would get eaten up by the complex playing calling coaches. ... Regardless of his motivational skills, he would do fairly well these days as a head coach as long as he has good play-calling coordinators. Good take ... Rich. ... You are the man. When will KCBS hire you to do commentary?

  13. I'm a woman and not that into sports, primarily because of my two older brothers who were/are AVID sports nuts!

    I lived in Anchorage about 1980 and the winters were long. I got into football! John Madden explained things very well for me!

    And now--I occasionally enjoy John, but I am usually listening to the radio in the morning in the car, anxiously trying to figure out what the traffic is. KCBS honors John by allowing him to go well past his time, but I click off when I'm not getting my traffic update "on the eights."

  14. Hey 6:54 anon....little history lesson. Yes..the Steelers won four superbowls to the Raiders one in the 1970s, but head to head the Raiders were 6-5 against the Steelers in regular season and post season games combined in the decade of the 1970s. The Steelers did beat them 3 times (twice in the AFC title games of 1974 and 75 and the infamous 'Immaculate Reception' playoff game of 1972), while the Raiders won the AFC title game from Pittsburgh in 1976 and beat the Steelers in regular season games in 1970, 1974, and the opener of 1976 (Oakland scored 17 unanswered points to win in the final seconds of the game) and again in 1977.

    The Steelers' defense shut down Oakland's running attack in the '74 title game, and in 1975, they also hung on to beat Oakland by six points on a frozen field at Three Rivers Stadium. The Raiders dominated the Steelers in the 1976 AFC Title game 24-7, and Oakland shut them out in the regular season of 1974 17-0 at Pittsburgh, and in 1977, their 17-7 win, again at Pittsburgh had the football writers saying the Raiders were better than they had been the year before. But in that last game, they lost linebacker Phil Villapiano and offensive lineman John Vella for the rest of the year, and it cost the Raiders in the AFC Finals that year when
    Denver's 'Orange Crush' team cosached by 'Red' Miller and quarterbacked by former Cal great Craig Morton won a controversial 20-17 AFC Title game at old Mile High Stadium to dethrone the Raiders and go to the first ever Superbowl in Denver history.

    Lots of great moments between those two teams! Phil Villapiano who is from the east coast put it best when he said: "The thing I love about our 1976 Superbowl ring is that Al Davis put the final score of 24-7 Raiders over the Steelers on that ring, and whenever I go to Pittsburgh I show the people that score on my ring.
    That's how much we hated the Steelers!"

    1. Thank you for the memories. Excellent summation.

  15. John Madden has been become a caricature of himself.
    Madden enjoys name dropping as if we are supposed to be impressed with his circle of friends.
    And is quick to defend his buddies such as Tiger Woods and Bret Farve.
    No thanks.