It was inevitable that this day would come, but it is nevertheless one that I never wanted to see.
John Madden has retired from broadcasting.
He just made the announcement yesterday, and the tributes have been pouring in.
Art Spander writes that Madden was a great announcer and an even better man. "We'll miss you, John," he concludes.
Peter King, one of the foremost authorities on professional football, writes for Sports Illustrated that Madden's influence on football is unequaled.
And he agrees with Spander, but he elaborates. "Madden will be missed, but we've seen too many people who die too young, who likely would have wanted a few years to do what they wanted, when they wanted. Good for Madden. Bad for us."
Thankfully, Madden still lives. Perhaps he will make occasional guest appearances at important football games in the future. Maybe he will come back for a Super Bowl or two, maybe a Thanksgiving game.
Hope springs eternal, I guess, that this is not the absolute end — although he did walk away from coaching in his 40s, never to return. He can still spend time with his family, yet give football fans occasional, if rare, opportunities to listen to his insights.
And, as Darren Rovell points out for CNBC.com, there are still video clips of commercials Madden has done over the years.
Rovell has posted some of the best — Ace Hardware, Tinactin, Miller Lite, McDonald's and, of course, EA Sports — for us to enjoy.
But I can't help wondering, what will become of Frank Caliendo? He does some great impressions — more than a hundred, I've heard — but his takeoff on Madden is, in my opinion, one of his best.