For over 25 years, John Madden was as much a staple on Thanksgiving as turkey and stuffing. Along with his partner in the booth, Pat Summerall, Madden's presence could always be counted on every fourth Thursday of November, whether in Detroit or Dallas. He introduced America to the Turducken, and if you don't know what that is, well, it's perfectly Madden — an unconventional bird welcome at anyone's dinner table.
John Madden (Getty Images)
As Thanksgiving approaches, it seemed only appropriate to catch up with Madden, a true renaissance man in the world of football:
Yahoo! Sports: When were you first introduced to the Turducken and how did they become a staple on Thanksgiving football broadcasts?
John Madden: I was introduced to the Turducken in New Orleans. And it wasn't Thanksgiving. Glenn at the Gourmet Butcher Block brought it by and I had never heard of it or had seen one and they put it in the booth and it smelled so good, that I had to taste it. And it was good. Then Thanksgiving came and we got one in addition to the traditional turkey. Then a Turducken and a turkey became a Thanksgiving tradition.
YS: Do you fix a Turducken on Thanksgiving?
JM: No, we get it already made. Just put it in the oven. Some people do make them, but I always get mine already made.
YS: What do you miss most about announcing football games on Thanksgiving?
JM: Just the whole camaraderie. That was really my tradition. I did it for over 25 years, alternating between Detroit and Dallas. We would have our Thanksgiving dinner the night before with the whole crew and invite the officials who were doing the game the next day. I would have them also make Thanksgiving meals for the bus for the next day.
YS: What is your favorite Thanksgiving football memory?
JM: Every Thanksgiving was special. That was my favorite regular season game. Just the whole thing. The tradition being in Dallas when they had Aikman and Smith and in Detroit, with the Barry Sanders years-just watching him play. The most memorable game though was the New York Giants at Detroit when Lawrence Taylor was playing and having a great day then intercepted a pass and scored a TD. It was the first time I realized one player could dominate a game.
YS: If you could go back and see live any football game ever, which game would it be?
JM: Let me preface — I would go back and see the Super Bowl game I coached in. I would say one of the greatest games in the history of the NFL — the 1958 Baltimore Colts vs. New York Giants game at Yankee Stadium. That is one of the high points in the NFL. It was at that point when the NFL changed and became bigger than it had been.
YS: You're working with Visa on a campaign where two lucky winners will be invited to your game room. What has that experience been like?
JM: I had a great experience with Visa on the commercial shoot. I enjoy interacting with fans and I look forward to watching football and tailgating with them.
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