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Twilight of the Gods: John Madden leaves, and the Boss cashes out

Many years ago, I collaborated with a buddy on an article for an in-flight airline mag, in which we ranked Super Bowl coaches, based on their records against each other. The leaders were John Madden and Chuck Noll. We sought interviews, and Madden responded. 

We phoned him at home. He talked for an hour, all while two large dogs barked around him. They never quit, but it didn't phase Madden. He talked and talked - yeesh - we  practically couldn't get rid of him. In the end, one conclusion became obvious: He was the same guy as seen on TV. 

I believe that was Madden's gift. He loved football with a child's passion and never stopped marveling over his incredible luck - being paid to watch games. He would talk football with anybody, at any time, and be happy.

In that way, he reminded me more of Phil Rizzuto than any other broadcaster. 

In an industry of plastic personalities, nobody was ever more authentic, more real, than they. 

For boomers, these are perilous times, twilight of the gods. Charlie Watts. Michael Nesmith. Joan Didion. Yeesh. It's a generational "Proceed to checkout." Last week, Bruce Springsteen sold his music catalogue for $500 million - more money than he'll have time to spend it. I don't blame him. What does he need with old songs, when he can buy another boat? 

Still, it will mean weathering strange advertising jingles. Steel yourself for: 

"It aint no sin to be glad you use Dial.”

“Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night. You’re sure a beauty when I’m drinkin’ Coors Light.”

“Cramps like ours… Baby, they’ll be gone with Tums!”

And others...

Bob Dylan: “Come all without, come all within! You’ll not stay nowhere like the Comfort Inn.”

“When backache hurts you to the bone, EVERYBODY MUST GET DOAN’S!”

 Mick Jagger: “Pleased to scratch you! Hope you guess my name! ‘Cuz what’s itchin’ you soon be gone with Lanacane.”

Elton John: “It seems to me, you lived your life like a candle in the wind… ever glowin’, lookin’ healthy… takin’ Ultra Slim.”

Michael Stipe:  (for AAMCO) “That’s me at the corner. That’s me at the stop light, losin’ my transmission…”

Helen Reddy: “I am strong. I am invincible. I am Garman.”

RIP, everybody. Yeah, it's dark. But the days are getting longer.

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