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Vin Scully on John Madden: ‘His heart was bigger than anything else’

John Madden celebrates after being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a news conference in February 2006.
(Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)
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It’s not often you can teach Vin Scully a thing or two when it comes to sports broadcasting, but that’s exactly what John Madden managed to do when the pair worked together covering NFL games for CBS in the early 1980s.

Reminiscing about Madden a day after the legendary football broadcaster’s death, Scully said he learned a lot from the then-freshly minted game analyst in his brief time working alongside him. The legendary Dodgers announcer knew Madden would be destined for great things as a broadcaster.

“I had worked with good men on baseball games, especially Joe Garagiola, but when I worked with John Madden it was as if he was summoning everybody,” Scully said on NFL Network. “I had the feeling that the whole world was going to tune in to hear John and that I had best be on my best behavior. So I think just his presence, sitting there alongside of me shoulder to shoulder, I think his presence made me a little bit better because I kept saying ‘My gosh, he’s so talented, his intelligence on football is so brilliant and yet it comes out so easily.’ ... So there was no sense in my mind that I was competing with John. You could say I was just holding on for dear life and loving every minute.”

As great as Madden was in helping Scully in the broadcast booth, ultimately it was Madden’s passion for the game and life that really impressed Scully the most.

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“He was bigger than himself. His heart was bigger than anything else, and I loved his laugh,” Scully said. “So all in all, I enjoyed the year that I spent with John. He taught me so much and we got along exceptionally well.”

NFL legend John Madden was more than a star coach, broadcaster and video-game innovator. He was a funny, generous friend to everyone he met.


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