Madden leaves Fox for MNF

Feb. 28, 2002 at 2:48 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- John Madden agreed Thursday to a four-year deal with ABC and will team with Al Michaels in the Monday Night Football booth.

The way was cleared when Fox released the popular NFL commentator from the final year of his contract after both sides could not agree on an extension.

"Every broadcaster would love an opportunity to be part of Monday Night Football," Madden said. "This is something that came very quickly."

Madden's arrival spells the end for Dennis Miller and analyst Dan Fouts in the Monday Night booth. Sideline reporter Eric Dickerson will also leave the show.

Madden, 65, who is known for his animated delivery, has been the top analyst at Fox since it took the NFC package away from CBS in 1994.

Madden's long-time on-air partner, Pat Summerall, has retired and Madden said he thought it was time for a change as well. His representatives at International Management Group requested permission for Madden to be released from the remaining year

of his contract, which was worth $7.5 million.

Despite sagging ratings, Monday Night Football is still considered the sport's top showcase for announcers and ABC will televise the Super Bowl next season.

The addition of Madden comes two years after producer Don Ohlmeyer was brought back to spark the Monday Night telecast and raised more than a few eyebrows when he hired Miller, a popular comedian. However, Miller's off-the-wall references

perturbed traditional football fans and the ratings continued to slide.

Although Fouts, the Hall of Fame quarterback, is a respected analyst, he often came across as bland and did not mesh with Michaels and Miller.

Last season, Monday Night Football's telecasts generated an average 11.5 rating, down 9 percent from a 12.7 in 2000.The 1999 rating was 13.7.

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