All Madden: Hey I’m Talking Football, by John Madden with Dave Anderson ISBN 0060172053
Five out of five stars
There is no question in my mind that John Madden is the best color commentator for NFL football that has ever donned a headset. It is a tribute to Madden and Anderson that this book reads just like Madden sounded. It is very easy to conjure up audio fantasies where you hear Madden saying what is in this book.
While there are a few digressions, this is almost exclusively a book about NFL football. All aspects of the game, from the hard-nosed battles on the line of scrimmage, to how he learned to be a football announcer, the movement of franchises, to his opinions about the high salaries that are now an integral part of the game. Only rarely does Madden say anything that can be construed as a negative comment about others.
The most interesting topic in the book is about the legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi was discussing the famous Lombardi Sweep in a seminar, the signature running play of the Green Bay Packers. In Lombardi’s world, his team should be so efficient at running the play that it would be successful even when the other team knew that it was coming. Madden states that Lombardi spoke for eight hours about that one play.
Another significant point is made about Hall of Fame center Jim Otto. Unlike many other players, when it was clear that he made a mistake, rather than let it pass, Otto would say, “Run it again.” He would often ask to see it five or six times so that he could completely dissect his mistake.
A great and light-hearted book about NFL football, this is Madden at his best, coming across as a genuine guy with a love for a game that has made him famous and successful.