Why did John Madden vacation by bus? How his anxiety of traveling led to the delivery of the ‘Madden Cruiser’

John Madden took a flight from Tampa Bay to San Francisco in 1979. He only manufactured it to Houston before he disembarked the airplane.

It marked the remaining time that Madden would fly.

Madden managed his worry of flying for the duration of his 10-year NFL coaching profession, but he gave up on the apply as a broadcaster. As an alternative, he rode to video games in his “Madden Cruiser,” a luxury bus made to let him to get from put to area with out flying. It gave him a likelihood to roam the country and encounter a variety of areas of The us although he was on the road.

How did the Madden Cruiser come to be? And what led John Madden to halt traveling through his write-up-coaching days? This is every little thing you have to have to know about Madden’s unconventional journey established up and why it labored out completely for him.

BENDER: How John Madden created soccer pleasurable for each individual generation

Why John Madden didn’t fly

Around the decades, several have pointed to the California Polytechnic State University football staff airplane crash that transpired on Oct. 29, 1960, as something that keyed Madden’s aversion to traveling. Madden had graduated Cal Poly in 1958 and misplaced friends in the crash, which killed 22 of the 48 people on board.

Having said that, Madden admitted in 2008 that his fear of flying predated the incident. It was essentially caused by claustrophobia.

“I didn’t like finding on planes just before that,” Madden said, for every NBC Sporting activities. “I obtained claustrophobic, and it acquired even worse in excess of the decades.”

Madden was able to fly in the course of his coaching profession, which spanned 1969 via 1978, but his worry became as well much once he became a broadcaster. He final flew in 1979. He was on a flight from Tampa Bay to San Francisco when he had a worry attack following the flight attendant closed the cabin door.

“I could do one particular of two points,” Madden reported of the incident in 2000, for each the Baltimore Solar. “I could make a jerk out of myself and jump up and run, for the reason that I realized they could not prevent me. You can find no way, if I needed to get off, in that state, that they could end me. If I dedicated myself to having off, I was going to get off.”

Madden rather elected to intestine it out and bought off the airplane in Houston. Soon after that, he dedicated to touring by educate and bus for the rest of his vocation.

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How the “Madden Cruiser” came to be

Madden expended the to start with six decades of his post-traveling broadcasting job traveling throughout the country by train and bus. However, he most well-liked busing spots when he could, as it permitted him to see extra of the place.

“People made use of to say to me, ‘It must be great coaching and traveling and observing all the issues you do,’” Madden instructed Peter King in 1990. “Effectively, I’d get on the airplane, and then I’d get off the airplane, get on a bus and go to the lodge.  Then the stadium, then the plane all over again.  I imagined I’d traveled all in excess of, but I hadn’t found anything at all. You’ve acquired to be on the ground to see points.”

Madden’s choice for bus travel wasn’t regarded until finally 1987. The moment it was exposed in an job interview, then-CBS govt producer Terry O’Neil rented Dolly Parton’s tour bus for Madden all through a 7 days in which he had to function soccer online games in Atlanta and Philadelphia as perfectly as a billiards function in Las Vegas, for each the Baltimore Sunlight. Madden relished that arrangement, and that led to the beginning of the “Madden Cruiser.”

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The Madden Cruiser was a luxurious bus that Madden took around the nation to get to the NFL games he was contacting. It was specified to him by Greyhound bus traces as section of a 1987 endorsement deal that covered all costs for the bus, which includes a personal driver.

The Madden Cruiser became the broadcaster’s most well-liked strategy of journey, and he has set hundreds of 1000’s of miles on his buses about the many years. It also grew to become a legend in the NFL group, as Madden typically hosted conferences and interviews on the bus all through his profession.

The initial iteration of the Madden Cruiser was brought to the Professional Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018.