John Madden does things big. Big voice. Big bus. Big video game. Why should TV viewing be different? The retired analyst now spends NFL Sundays camped in a 7,000-square-foot studio two minutes from his Pleasanton, Calif., home and he watches games on nine 63-inch HD TVs and a 16-by-9-foot projection screen. "I make sure the big screen is never showing a commercial," he says.
On Sunday, Madden and DirecTV, which set up the system, invited six fathers of NFL QBs—Archie Manning (father of the Colts' Peyton and the Giants' Eli), Don Hasselbeck (the Seahawks' Matt), Bill Palmer (the Bengals' Carson and Jordan), Chip Brees (the Saints' Drew), John Stafford (the Lions' Matt) and Andy Edwards (the Bills' Trent)—to watch their sons play. It was a reunion for Manning and Hasselbeck, teammates on the 1984 Vikings. "We'd have our kids at the training facility or over to our house," says Manning. "Back in those days we didn't take as many pictures. It's a shame we don't have one of them together when they were kids."
Each of the fathers found it comforting to know that the others fidget and pace—and are superstitious—while watching their sons. Archie's luck was good on Sunday. Both Mannings won, as did Palmer and Brees. Edwards and Stafford were not so fortunate. Peyton's Colts beat the Seahawks, but the younger Hasselbeck sat out because of injury.
"I usually watch the games at home with no company when Matthew's playing," Don Hasselbeck said. "I'm good with two games, O.K. with three, but when you get to eight or nine, it's like, wow. I've never seen anything like it."