Known for his long career as a football coach and sports presenter, John Madden has become one of the sport’s most iconic and beloved figures. The Pro Football Hall of Fame member passed away suddenly on December 28, 2021 at the age of 85, prompting many fans and friends to share stories about Madden’s turbulent life via social media, including one that involved a connection surprising with country legend Dolly. Parton.
Although Madden travels to cities across the country for his work, he is reluctant to get on a plane. Many believed his aversion to flying first came to light after 22 people, including 16 players on the California Polytechnic State University football team, died in a plane crash in 1960. Madden knew of many victims and was deeply affected by the event, but has said in several interviews that he avoids flying due to a long-standing claustrophobia which has worsened over the years, and noted that it was not the direct result of an emotional impact from the accident. .
When CBS first hired Madden as a color analyst to cover their football games, he chose to make his own travel arrangements. According to The Baltimore SunMadden took the train to games and promotional appearances until he revealed in an interview that he preferred to travel by bus. This prompted the network’s executive producer, Terry O’Neil, to try a unique solution. He did some magic and rented Dolly Parton’s own tour bus while she wasn’t on the road, allowing Madden to get to Atlanta, Las Vegas and Philadelphia within a week. .
The trip was a success, inspiring Madden and setting off a series of events that led to the creation of what fans are now calling the “Madden Cruiser.” Shortly after his stint on Parton’s tour bus, Madden made a deal with Greyhound to convert one of their buses into a $ 500,000 custom residence that took him from town to town.
Dubbed the “Madden Cruiser,” the one-off vehicle has traveled 80,000 miles each year, traveling from broadcast to broadcast, according to Illustrated sports. The bus, which included state-of-the-art technology, a private queen-size bed and multiple televisions, has become a legend in its own right. Fans often looked for the bus and its distinct paint job at football games to use as a backdrop for photos and to try and spot Madden ahead of broadcasts. To this day, sports fans can visit the bus, which is on permanent display at the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
While the whereabouts of Parton’s bus are unknown to the public, fans can get a feel for what the ride might have looked like by taking a tour of his 1994 tour bus, which is currently parked and on display at the inside its Dollywood theme park.
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