Richie Zyontz Recalls How Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan Was Named Manager Of 1988 All-Madden Team

Every year, John Madden would pick his All-Madden team, selecting guys who"got a dirty uniform, mud on his face and grass in the ear hole of his helmet.”

In 1988, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan was selected as the manager of the All-Madden team.

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Heenan's was part Madden's love of wrestling and part the idea of producer Richie Zyontz, who reached out to WWE.

“I am a huge wrestling fan, and I don’t want to give myself credit for this without being 100 percent certain,” Zyontz told The Athletic. “It feels self-serving to say it. But I don’t recall a lot of wrestling guys working on the crew. I am sure we got to talking about how we need a manager for this unruly group, and ‘manager’ gave you the connotations of a wrestling manager. Bobby ‘The Brain’ was huge at the time. I mean, it was going to be Bobby or Lou Albano. That show was so much fun to work on because we were able to throw ideas out and just do it. There were no rules.”

He continued, "What the WWF ended up sending was this elaborate and staged thing during one of their tapings. We were like, ‘Holy, moly.’ We just put in this request and told them our plans, and they concocted this whole scenario of Heenan accepting the offer. They choreographed the whole thing.”

Fans can watch Heenan's acceptance of the position in the video above.

On an episode of Something To Wrestle, Bruce Prichard stated WWE tried to have John Madden call WrestleMania on several occasions.

Sandy Montag, Madden’s longtime agent and friend, confirmed the story to The Athletic.

“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!'”

Madden coached the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl XI victory before becoming arguably the most legendary announcer of all-time. Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He sadly passed away on December 21, 2019.

Heenan was a legendary manager and announcer in his own right. He sadly passed away on September 17, 2017.

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