- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
As game time nears, Madden chats on his headset with CBS director Bob Fish-man about the possibility of getting a shot of the luxurious glassed-in box belonging to Lamar Hunt, the Chiefs' owner. Madden explains that he would like to work in a line about how Lamar's 4-year-old son is learning how to count: "One million, two million...."
Madden checks the Chiefs' lineup and recoils at the name of Frank Manumaleuga, the Samoan linebacker. "That guy's never going to get a mention unless he changes his name," Madden says. "No way I can pronounce that."
When the cameras go on, Bender fluidly sets the scene and Madden adds, "I led the league in boos here." Then, stripping off his jacket and standing up, Madden delivers his commentary while doing the boogie and double sweep with such verve that he periodically knocks over his chair, spills coffee and becomes entangled in the cords of his headset. Somehow, with Bender instinctively ducking under Madden's jabs and roundhouse swipes, the pair melds in a dialogue that is lively, insightful and wry. When Bender notes that the Lions' Billy Sims looks tired, Madden adds, "Yes, but it's a good tired, the kind that allows him to lose his anxiety and run on pure instinct."
After a clipping penalty, Madden says, "I always told my guys if you can read the names on their backs, don't block them because it'll be a clip." Bender: "You mean all of your players could read?" Madden: "Well, later I changed that and said they shouldn't block if they could seethe names."
Madden's most compelling asset as an analyst is that he communicates his excitement. This is especially evident when, with the score tied 10-10 going into the final quarter, he begins pointing out individual accomplishments by enthusiastically adding sound effects—boom! wham!—and pawing and poking the images of the players on the TV monitor in front of him. Up to a point. After one spectacular tackle by Manumaleuga, Bender slyly asks Madden if he saw who made the play. "Frank," he says.
MONDAY: It is past midnight and a steady rain is falling as Madden drags through the deserted Kansas City station en route to his next game in Seattle. Out on the platform, he stands in the rain long enough to tell the writer type, "On second thought, you may be a No. 6 moving up to a 98, a training-camp walk-on who surprises people. Keep trying."
Madden disappears into the club car and, as the train lurches and begins to roll, he can be seen through the steamy windows, wildly waving his arms at the bartender. The roar is muffled but still audible: "Lite beer from Miller! Tastes fantastic! Less filling!"