John Madden's sudden retirement after 30 memorable years in the football broadcast booth has started up another spirited NFL conversation. Bay Area sports writers are openly speculating that Madden may remain involved with the NFL -- in a front office position with your Oakland Raiders.
Madden's retirement from NBC's "Sunday Night Football" was announced Thursday morning. Before the tough-actin' Tinactin could even dry, David White's Silver & Black blog in the SF Chronicle was immediately connecting the dots. Al Davis has made repeated remarks that he wishes Madden had stayed on longer, and that he'd desire a guy like Madden to help the organization once Davis goes on to that big appeals court in the sky.
Madden, of course, coached the Raiders for nine season and continues to reside in the Bay Area.
Tim Kawakami follows suit on his Talking Points blog in the Mercury News, asking "Could Madden's next step be into the Raiders' front office alongside his pal Al Davis?" Kawakami notes that at a September press conference, there had been a mysterious allusion to some surprise local personnel figure being brought into the Raiders' front office this current offseason.
You see? Watch this right here. The one guy retires, and then another guy over here is gonna parse some language, and then this guy over here is gonna pick up on some intentionally cryptic comments from a press conference, then -- boom! -- that's how you start an Internet rumor.
There is legitimate smoke here, if no real fire. Looking back to the Sept. 30 press conference -- yes, THAT press conference, the one with the overhead projector and Davis' "Darrell Russell, God bless him!" remark that really must have thrilled sexual assault victims nationwide -- there were actual remarks about an unnamed local figure whom Davis wished to bring onboard. The remarks were not on camera, but Tim Kawakami still has a transcript posted on his San Jose Mercury News blog.
"There's one guy I'm looking at now," Davis is quoted as saying, "It would be an executive role." Davis mentions no names, but continues, "I’d wait ‘til this off-season. Yeah, I’ve talked to the person, pretty much. It’d be unique. He’s local."
"Can you give us a name?," a reporter inquires.
"Local", Davis responds.
That doesn't really give Internet gossips like me great deal to work with. But I can think of a guy who meets that description, and he's just a short horse trailer bus ride away from Raiders headquarters in Alameda.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who cannot be rebroadcast or retransmitted in any way without the express written consent of the National Football League.