Daily Madden: How The Telestrator Was Born

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A feature article about John Madden in Thursday’s USA Today includes a 1982 picture of Madden working the telestrator to diagram plays for his NFL broadcasts.

Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew the idea for using the technology on air started with football clinics he’d host with private audiences.

“We would show game films and talk football and stuff, and I used something like (the telestrator,)” Madden said. “I always wanted to do that (on air)… When it first came out, no one knew anything about it. So they said it had to be a union job. In other words, you had to get a guy that was a union guy to do the telestrator, you know, a technician. Well, that’s not going to work because you can’t tell him ‘put a circle here, put a circle there.’

To make a long story short, they okayed me to be the only guy that could do it. No one else could touch that machine… Now everyone has one.” Madden said it all came naturally to him.

“As a coach, that’s what you do. You watch so much film where you have 22 players on the field at all times. In order to direct your attention to what you’re talking about, you have to have some marker… Talking and drawing I’ve been doing all my life. Not well, but all my life.” (7:05)

(Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 and Monday and Friday mornings at 9:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.)

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