An Associated Press photo of John Madden as a coach. An Associated Press photo of John Madden as a coach. (Supplied by Religion of Sports around the All Madden docuseries.)

Jim Nantz is obviously a legend in the world of sports broadcasting, having been the voice of a variety of major events across decades at CBS.

His time at CBS overlapped with John Madden, clearly one of the most influential and well-known broadcasters ever. Talking to Rich Eisen about his relationship with Madden, Nantz had nothing but positive things to say, noting that his only regret was not spending more time with him when he could have.

The reason, surprisingly: Nantz was intimidated by Madden. That’s hard to believe, considering the stages on which we’ve seen Nantz, and indeed he cites the fact that he was more confident and comfortable having dinner with the actual Queen of England than he was seeking out more of Madden’s time.

Obviously the whole thing is worth listening to, as Nantz (unsurprisingly) had zero trouble eloquently describing his longtime friend and broadcasting colleague.

But it’s the moments of true tenderness that come across differently; Nantz has never really come across vulnerably very often, but he does here as he describes the fact that he let his anxieties deprive him of more time with a man he admired.

“He was always very generous…he had a home, right off of Ocean Avenue, in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Which was one mile from my house! And I didn’t get to see him as much as I should have. But I saw him on occasion for breakfast, a cup of coffee, a walk. This is going to sound really bizarre but I was intimidated by him. And he was not an intimidating guy. That was the last thing he’d want anybody to feel because he certainly didn’t try to emit anything to you that made you feel uncomfortable, but he was just so big and I had so much respect and appreciation for him.

Look, my job has taken me everywhere. I’ve ben in the company of a number of presidents. I’ve had a dinner sitting at the same table as the Queen of England, these things I’ve never deserved but somehow they landed in my lap. But when I was around John I just never quite broke through that barrier of being in awe around him.

He’s the most normal guy ever, but I just think it speaks to my love, respect, and appreciation for him. I looked up to him so much. I lived a mile from him. In retrospect I wish I’d have seen him three days a week. Not that he would have wanted me three days a week…

You get older in life and you think ‘you should have handled that relationship a little bit better.’ Man he was good to me. I wish I had more time with him. It was there. I know it was there if I had a little more self-confidence in that relationship.”

That’s invaluable advice for people who aren’t Jim Nantz and John Madden, too. Existence is fleeting. If you find people you enjoy being around, people you love and respect and admire, and have the chance to spend more time with them? Do that.

[The Rich Eisen Show]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.