Behind the scenes with FOX’s NFL Crew: Honoring John Madden

Behind the scenes with FOX’s NFL Crew: Honoring John Madden

By Richie Zyontz
The primary producer of FOX NFL

Editor’s Word: Richie Zyontz has been an NFL producer for FOX since 1994 and has been a lead producer for the previous 20 seasons. He has over 40 years of league expertise and has made six Tremendous Bowls. All through the 2022 NFL season, he’ll present an inside look as FOX’s new No. 1 NFL workforce makes its journey in the direction of Tremendous Bowl LVII.

John Madden would not personal Thanksgiving. Nevertheless it was very shut.

Pilgrims and Native People might have began this custom, however Madden embraced it with a joyful love for meals, household and soccer.

That is the primary Thanksgiving with out John, who handed away in December. The NFL has aptly chosen his favourite vacation to honor him, remembering his influence on soccer. kick in all three video games on Thursday. Followers are reminded of the particular relationship they’ve with the best analyst to ever put on a headset.

For me, it’s kind of extra private.

USA – AUGUST 5: John Madden, former Raiders coach and NFL broadcaster, poses with a bust of himself as he’s inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame. (Picture by Jay Laprete/Bloomberg through Getty Pictures.)

An awesome pal

In 1982, I used to be in my second season touring across the nation as a really younger broadcast affiliate on CBS Sports activities.

That 12 months’s Thanksgiving sport featured a sophomore named Lawrence Taylor, whose New York Giants performed towards the Detroit Lions on the Pontiac Silverdome.

Whereas Pat Summerall and John Madden had referred to as Tremendous Bowl XVI earlier in January at that very stadium, this was their first full season collectively as CBS’s lead workforce.

Producer Bob Stenner and director Sandy Grossman perfected what would change into the manufacturing groups’ Mount Rushmore. I actually stroll among the many giants.

Little did I do know that the 39 years of shut friendship with Madden was in my future. I might by no means have imagined strolling with him in cities throughout America, introducing him to kosher delis and pizza on New York’s Higher West Facet, taking part in poker in his condominium. he was in Dakota (see Lennon, John for a historic reference) and rode his Maddencruiser bus from one finish of the nation to the opposite, telling jokes all day lengthy.

To not point out he launched me to my future spouse, June, that we have been married in 1990 at his house in Danville, Ca. and that he was my greatest man.

It was an incredible friendship and somebody I take into consideration day-after-day.

John Madden’s Thanksgiving

John Madden's Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is John Madden’s favourite vacation. This 12 months, the NFL honored the legendary broadcaster and coach.

Close to the top of John’s life, I requested him what he misses most about broadcasting. With out lacking a beat, his reply was Thanksgiving.

He loves Thanksgiving soccer. He loves the gamers, the coach, the meals, the large vacation meal together with his workforce.

On Thursday’s TV present, as we paid tribute to John, I glanced at my telephone greater than as soon as anticipating a check from him:

“Sufficient speaking about me, get again to the sport.”

A really big day

I acquired a message throughout our radio session from Mike Madden, John’s eldest son. He stated the day was “superior, humbling.” I am proud that we have been capable of congratulate his father with variety ideas and phrases in addition to some memorable video clips. Director Wealthy Russo and I wore All-Madden jerseys as our private tribute to the person we all know and love. In the present day, a brand new custom is born—honoring John Madden for the enjoyment he brings us each Thanksgiving.

Richie Zyontz sporting a classic All-Madden shirt in 1991

Go the BBQ sauce

Normally, we’ll rejoice Thanksgiving with a dinner and get together on a Tuesday evening. Sadly, our truck had a fairly lengthy haul from New York to Arlington, the place we broadcast the Cowboys victory over the Giants, and Tuesday turned out to be an extended working day on the Stadium. AT&T. Wednesday did not work out as a result of the halftime rehearsal with the Jonas Brothers stored the crew busy till the early night.

We referred to as an audio convention and moved our celebration to Friday evening in Kansas Metropolis, the place we’ll be internet hosting our subsequent sport on Sunday between the Rams and Chiefs. It might not be conventional vacation fare, however you’ll be able to’t beat ribs, burnt heads, and pulled pork at Jack Stack Barbecue.

John Madden would approve – this man is aware of his manner round a rack of ribs.

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