SBD/Issue 21/Sports Media

Madden Not Calling This Week's "SNF," Ending Streak At 476 Games

Madden Says Decision To Skip "SNF" 
Telecast Is A "Quality Of Life Issue"
NBC's John Madden will not broadcast this week's Seahawks-Buccaneers "Sunday Night Football" game, ending a "remarkable run the network said is now at 476 games," according to Leonard Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST. NBC's Cris Collinsworth will replace Madden in the booth, but it will "only happen this week because of some extenuating circumstances." It was not Madden's idea "to take a deep breath and a day off this weekend," but when NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol "first broached the possibility with him last spring, Madden said he'd have to think about it." But Madden earlier this month told Ebersol "it might not be a bad idea." Madden, who lives in Northern California, said, "I wasn't reluctant as much as I was 'let's wait and see how it goes.' Last year we had a couple of tough (trips). I still enjoy the travel, but you'd like to be home once in a while. ... It's a quality of life issue." Shapiro noted ALCS Game 7, if necessary, would also be played in Tampa on Sunday, and that "surely would fragment the television audience by cutting into the eyeballs watching the football game around the country."  Ebersol: "To me, it's just a week to rest my best player. It's like giving your best starting pitcher an extra day off in the rotation. ... John is not only the best game analyst in the history of sports, he remains the best analyst on television." Shapiro noted Collinsworth, who serves as a co-host for NBC's "Football Night in America" and an analyst for NFL Net's game coverage, will be a "seamless fit working" with play-by-play announcer Al Michaels (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/13).

NEEDING A BYE WEEK: Madden: "I just wanted to have a bye. ... The whole thing starts with the Raiders and 49ers not being good. I never get a home game. I've got five grandkids now and I want to be home a little. Last year, I never got home at all." In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports Madden actually will "get two weeks off," as NBC on October 26 "will not carry a game rather than go head-to-head with Game 4 of the World Series on Fox." Madden is scheduled to return to the booth for the November 2 Patriots-Colts game (N.Y. TIMES, 10/14).

A SIGN OF WHO'S NEXT? DEADSPIN's A.J. Daulerio wrote Collinsworth filling in for Madden leads "to the obvious speculation that he'll be the eventual heir to the Madden throne." However, Collinsworth has said that is "not in his future plans and he has no desire to fly around the country every weekend covering football games because he likes watching his kids grow up" (DEADSPIN.com, 10/13).

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