NBC football analyst John Madden retires

John Madden
John Madden

NEW YORK (NBC) - For four decades, John Madden has been a part of professional football.

First as a Hall of Fame coach, then as a broadcaster.

He won an unprecedented 16 Emmy awards.

A younger generation knows Madden thanks to the wildly popular video game that bears his name.

Today, the American sports icon announced he is leaving the broadcast booth.

He talked about it this morning, on his San Francisco radio show.

"This year is my 50th wedding anniversary so you know, you just add up everything its just the right time," said Madden.

For more than 40 years, pro football has been Madden's life.

First as a Hall of Fame, and Super Bowl winning coach, and the last 30 as an analyst.

"I think he's the best sports broadcaster who ever lived because he had the great ability to make you want him to come into your house and sit on the couch with you," said NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol.

When you heard Madden on a broadcast, you knew it was the big game.

His final call was the biggest, Super Bowl 43.

In a 2007 interview Madden talked about when and why he would leave.

"When the feeling isn't there anymore you say hey, see ya later and you don't go back," he recounted.

While his decision to step down comes as a surprise to many, maybe it shouldn't.

It was, after all, typical Madden. Like his commentary, with no script or fanfare, just that unmistakable straight forward style.

Former NFL wide receiver, and current NBC analyst, Chris Collinsworth will replace Madden next season on NBC Sunday Night Football.