Madden joins "Monday Night Football"
By The Associated Press
02/28/2002 11:08 AM
NEW YORK -- John Madden is joining ``Monday Night Football.''
The gregarious announcer agreed to a four-year deal with ABC and will team with veteran play-by-play man Al Michaels to form a two-man booth on the show.
``There is only one John Madden and he is now part of ABC Sports,'' ABC Sports president Howard Katz said Thursday.
Madden had one year remaining on his contract with Fox Sports, but that network agreed late Wednesday to free him from that deal.
He and ABC then quickly finished hammering out a contract which is worth about $5 million per season, an industry source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Madden could wind up making much more from the marketing opportunities that will arise thanks to his weekly prime-time
appearances on ABC.
``This is something that came very quickly. I'm numb, but even through the numbness I realize how lucky I am, going from playing to coaching to broadcasting,'' Madden said Thursday. ``Every broadcaster would love an opportunity to be part of 'Monday Night Football.'''
Madden's arrival means the departures of comedian Dennis Miller and color analyst Dan Fouts from ``Monday Night Football.'' Miller was offered the chance to stay on the program in a minor role, another industry source said, also on condition of anonymity. Sideline reporter Eric Dickerson also will leave the show.
Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders to the 1977 Super Bowl championship, had been at Fox since 1994. Before that, he and longtime play-by-play partner Pat Summerall were at CBS, where they were paired in 1981. Summerall said a week before this year's Super Bowl that he and Madden would part ways after calling the game for Fox on Feb. 3.
Mirroring a general trend in television, the ratings for ``Monday Night Football'' have declined each of the past seven years, including a 9 percent drop this season to a new low average rating of 11.5 (each rating point represents a little more than 1.05 million TV homes). Fox's NFL games averaged a 10.2, down 4 percent from last season, while CBS was steady at 9.5.
``This is something John has always had an interest in doing,'' Madden's agent, IMG's Sandy Montag, said Thursday. ``He's going to miss his association with Fox and the NFC. But from a marketing standpoint, this is huge for John.''
The partnership between Madden and Summerall evolved into the signature sound for pro football on TV. Summerall's reserved tone contrasted well with Madden's free-flowing opinions and jokes.
They announced eight Super Bowls together. Their first was the 1982 NFL championship, which remains the highest-rated sports telecast ever.