Not many celebrity deaths get to me, but hearing the news of NFL coach, broadcaster and NFL Hall of Fame member John Madden passing away Tuesday night did cause me to shed a tear. I was too young to watch him coach but old enough to watch and listen as he called games on Sunday.

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No question that there will be tributes a plenty to John Madden this weekend in the NFL and rightfully so. Madden is the foundation for what the NFL is today both on the field and in the booth. I did not get to watch him coach but his success with the Oakland Raiders in the 1970's still has not been matched. In his 10 years with the team, Madden never had a losing season and guided the Raiders to their first NFL Championship.

When he retired, he moved into the broadcast booth. My fondest memories of John Madden were watching him call Dallas Cowboy games with his longtime partner in the booth, Pat Summerall. John Madden made watching a game very entertaining while at the same time learning some of the ins and outs of the game. It's was always fun, too, to hear John talk about the turducken during Thanksgiving games. It made us all want to make and eat one.

Of course there was his contribution to the Madden NFL video games. Gamers of any age have played at least one version of the game from the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis to the PlayStation and XBox.

John Madden is the foundation of today's NFL. His mark on the game will continue for as long as the sport remains. NFL fans will enjoy the multitude of games this weekend but with a little sadness of coach no longer being with us.

R.I.P. John Madden

Here are my Week 17 picks:

Sunday, January 2

  • Falcons at Bills - Bills
  • Giants at Bears - Bears
  • Chiefs at Bengals - Chiefs
  • Dolphins at Titans - Titans 
  • Raiders at Colts - Raiders
  • Jaguars at Patriots - Patriots 
  • Buccaneers at Jets - Buccaneers
  • Eagles at Washington - Eagles
  • Rams at Ravens - Rams
  • Broncos at Chargers - Chargers
  • Texans at 49ers - 49ers
  • Cardinals at Cowboys - Cowboys
  • Panthers at Saints - Saints
  • Lions at Seahawks - Seahawks
  • Vikings at Packers - Packers

Monday, January 3

  • Browns at Steelers - Browns

Bye: None

Nothing is up for grabs but bragging rights if you can out pick me. Make 'em and let's have some fun.

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