I'm confused as to why there exists a split of opinion among NFL fans on John Madden; I love him. I don't know how one can love football without also loving the man, the legend, the Football icon that is Madden. Even if I didn't think highly of his sometimes bizarre broadcasts (but I do think highly of his broadcasts, especially the bizarre ones) I'd love him if only for his part in the Madden video game franchise. I feel like he raised me. Ready, break.
My favorite Madden moment came years ago watching a game probably played in Arizona, though it was too long ago and too inconsequential for me to remember now. I think it was in Arizona because there were cows in it. And cactus. Maybe it was Texas. That's not important.
What's important is that I don't recall a damn thing about the game besides the fact that John Madden was really on his game that day, talking absolute nonsense about anything and everything. I was watching the game with a close friend of mine, and we were both enamored of the fact that Madden was pretty much unwilling to discuss anything football related (or at least that's what memory tells me). And it went on, and on, and on (it was long enough ago that he must've been with Pat Sumerall; that twofer remains to this day my favorite broadcast crew). It was on Fox, because I remember the da na na na na na music -- no dancing robot at the time I believe -- and as that familiar intro played they showed some cows. My friend turned to me and said:
"I bet John Madden has something to say about the cows."
As if on cue, John Madden had something to say about the cows.
"Is that cactus those cows are eating?" Says the great, battling dementia even then.
It's impossible to identify the multitude of reasons why fans have such an irrational exuberance for sports, but I'll take a stab at one: it's comfort food for the soul. I have a beer, on the television there is someone talking nonsense about a game I'm familiar with and, holy shit, I've been here before. And there is something equally comforting to know that John Madden is predictably unpredictable, that no matter who is playing he's guaranteed to talk gibberish about some such many times over the course of the game, and I get to laugh at this old man about it and not feel bad, because deep down I know he's laughing too. Or isn't. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that John Madden will never die.
Jason Campbell gets disrespected with an 84, while Todd Collins, still listed as the 2nd string quarterback, gets an 85.
So I’ll address this rating the same way I addressed Bull’s query, by stating that the reason Collins excelled after Campbell struggled is that TC had been in Al Saunders’ complex offense since JC was coming out of high school. Whereas Collins unleashed looping darts without even looking, Campbell not only had to look first but also think first. Now Saunders is out, Zorn Star is in and JC is the team’s finest option for the future and present. Then I took a swig of Sierra Nevada Summerfest and flipped some burgers.
I'd say this is typical Madden giving love to a veteran player, but then how do you explain this, John?
The truth is, Jason Campbell doesn't have all that much to fear from Todd Collins until after he's thrown at least one pass, and after he does throw that pass, whatever he has to fear from Todd has everything to do with how he plays and nothing to do with his Madden rating. The Redskins just drafted a quarterback in the sixth round who, for most of the last college football season, projected as a day one draft pick. One bad game against a much better team in a nationally televised bowl game can apparently do much damage to one's perceived greatness, despite having played great according to virtually anyone's perception for the better part of two full seasons. And although Colt Brennan was a late round pick, I don't view him as likely cannon-fodder the same manner I might have a, say, Jordan Palmer. Colt Brennan has some downsides, but many wiser men than me projected him as a future starter in the NFL.
I'm not saying that Brennan is here to replace Campbell, but it didn't escape my notice that the team has a reliable third stringer and an overachieving second stringer and they have yet to do anything meaningful towards extending Campbell's contract. And, frankly, I can't blame them. I think Jason Campbell is both the present and the future franchise quarterback of Your Washington Redskins but, acknowledging he's been subject to trials and tribulations beyond his control, he hasn't really done anything besides look like a good but not great quarterback. I have every confidence that a season under quarterback's guru Jim Zorn will mean the world for him. But at some point he needs to develop from good to great or else the team will look elsewhere.
I also say why pile on John Madden, why! Campbell needs to focus on being his smooth mustached badman self and not about whether Madden players will have to make sure he's the starting qb before each game on our depth charts. I say unequivocally: he should be the starter, he is the starter, and it is his job to lose. When I fire up the new Madden, Jason Campbell will start. Right now he's >84. He can throw the ball over them mountains.
Also, Pete Schmitt should be on the roster. That is all.