April 16, 2009 / 6:47 PM / 10 years ago

Madden's football broadcasting draws to a close

Analyst John Madden answers questions during the panel for "NBC Sunday Night Football" at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California July 16, 2007. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - John Madden, an iconic figure in American football whose down-to-earth manner in the broadcast booth made the game come alive for viewers, retired from television on Thursday after a 30-year career.

At age 73, Madden said the time had come to retire from broadcasting so that he could spend more time with his family.

Madden is known for his colorful description of National Football League games and for how quick he was to draw circles on the screen using a telestrator to illustrate a play, interjecting exclamations such as “boom” and “whap.”

A former coach who guided professional football’s Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977, Madden often traveled to games in his own bus because he was reluctant to fly.

Madden began his broadcasting career in 1979 with U.S. network CBS, going on to join Fox in 1994, ABC in 2002 and NBC in 2006. He is the only figure ever to have worked as the lead football analyst for all four major U.S. TV networks.

Madden called his final game on February 1 for NBC in a telecast of Super Bowl XLIII, which was his 11th Super Bowl as a broadcaster.

His “Madden NFL” from Electronic Arts Inc. is the No. 1 selling sports video game of all time, with more than 65 million copies sold since its release 20 years ago. EA Sports said its relationship with Madden will continue.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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