A moment of silence is held for John Madden Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

John Madden’s love for football is pretty well-documented. His love for professional wrestling is less known. And while the two aligned every so often, there was once a strong push to make the iconic NFL color commentator the voice of WrestleMania as well.

The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch shared a story on Monday about how WWE Hall of Famer Bobby “The Brain” Heenan ended up as the “manager” of the 1988 All-Madden Team. The answer to that question was, likely, Richie Zyontz, who was an associate producer for CBS on their NFL broadcast featuring Pat Summerall and Madden. Zyontz and Madden bonded over their love of pro wrestling, which culminated in Heenan not only being named as manager of the All-Madden Team but even cutting a promo for it.

Also noted in the piece was a tidbit dropped by WWE executive director Bruce Prichard on the Something to Wrestle With podcast that the company tried to get Madden to do color commentary for WrestleMania.

“John Madden, man, we tried for such a long time. [Getting] John Madden to do color commentary for WrestleMania was our goal for the longest time,” said Pritchard in January. “We thought he was a perfect fit. John was a fan, John wanted to do it, but John didn’t travel by plane.

“In order to get John to our destination of WrestleMania on the three times, at least I worked on and tried to make happen, it just feasibly couldn’t take place because where John was in the country with his bus, but I would have loved to have had John Madden to do color commentary with Gorilla or Vince for an entire WrestleMania, and he knew it. He knew the show. He knew the characters. He loved the characters.

“I would have probably wanted to put him with Vince and Bobby [rather than] Gorilla [Monsoon] because he was so much like Gorilla in his delivery in the things that he saw and the way that he saw the business.”

Deitsch reached out to Sandy Montag, Madden’s agent and friend, who confirmed the interest as well as why it never happened.

“He was asked to do many sports other than football, and he passed on every one,” Montag said. “He was a football guy, No. 1. When it came to wrestling, he was a fan. He never really wanted to cross that line. Wrestling was also entertainment, which was a little bit different. There may have been some times where he thought about it but could not be there based on travel.

“I remember having a conversation with Prichard, but I just don’t think it ever got to the point where we were seriously negotiating. It was one of those things where John said, ‘Let me sleep on it,’ and then he’d wake up and say, ‘I can’t do that!’”

And so, we’re left to wonder what could have been and how different Hulk Hogan vs. André the Giant might have sounded if John Madden had been part of the soundtrack. Guessing there would have been more than a few “Boom!” exclamations. We’ll just have to add it to the list of “What Ifs” when it comes to Madden’s historic career.

[The Athletic, Fightful]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.