Madden Takes First Weekend Off in 28 Years
NFL commentator ends 476-game streak to see the grandkids
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2008 2:16 PM CDT
Pro football Hall of Famer John Madden gestures in the lobby of the Kennedy Center before a memorial service for NFL Players' Association leader Gene Upshaw.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – For the first time in 28 years, sportscaster John Madden will not call a regular-season NFL game this weekend, ending an impressive run of 476 without absence, the Washington Post reports. The hiatus is expected to be short for Madden—now 72 and working NBC’s Sunday-night broadcast—who crisscrosses the country in a bus due to his fear of flying.

“Last year we had a couple of tough” trips, Madden said. “I still enjoy the travel, but you'd like to be home once in a while. I've got five grandchildren. It's a quality of life issue. … When you see the grandkids, it's like they've grown 2 feet. So I'd like to check in once awhile, and this is a good chance to do that.”