Pittsburgh is famously a football town and that means longtime TV broadcaster John Madden has been in countless living rooms in this area over the years. His announcement that he is retiring from the booth after three decades ought to bring a note of sadness.
But old-time Steelers fans have a less fond reason to remember Mr. Madden - in his previous life as coach of the Oakland Raiders, he was on the sidelines at Three Rivers Stadium in 1972 when Franco Harris caught the Immaculate Reception, a play for the ages. Some say his disappointment then colored his perceptions of the Black and Gold thereafter.
Maybe, maybe not, but just as players shake hands after a game, Steeler Nation should wish him well as he leaves, at age 73, to spend more time with his family. His was a colorful career that brought a rough-hewn charm to whatever network he was on - NBC (his last position), ABC, Fox and CBS.
John Madden was an authentic character. Our City of Champions is also a city of characters. We can appreciate the loss of a character on the public airwaves better than most.