By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — For quite some time, John Madden was a ubiquitous figure in the NFL. A staple in American households every Sunday for three decades, a character with numerous sponsorships who lent his name and likeness to the biggest football video game in the world, he was in many ways the voice of football.

Yet Madden has certainly stayed out of the spotlight in recent years. It was fun, then, to see him in a video that aired prior to the Patriots-Falcons game on Thursday night.

The video began with an archived interview of Bill Belichick, sitting with Madden prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. In the current day, Madden reflected on that meeting, saying he realized how advanced Belichick’s football knowledge in the years that followed that interview.

“You know how sometimes you think you know something, until you meet someone who really knows it, and then you realize that you don’t know it?” Madden says. “That was history with Bill Belichick. I mean, he was so far ahead of me. I learned that I don’t know as much as I thought.”

Belichick reflected on a day from early in his coaching career, when he was an assistant coach for the Broncos, who were going up against Madden’s Raiders.

“First of all, when you look at John, you don’t mistake him for anybody else,” Belichick said. “You can see this guy a mile away — from the front, the side, the back. He just had a very unique profile. And he always wore his stupid sideline pass. The thing always blew and it was going all over the place and everything.”

The sideline pass comment drew a laugh from Madden.

Belichick then read aloud a quote from John Madden, in which Madden stated that coaching allows people to go from “being good at recess” to being a genius.

“That’s a hell of a quote,” Belichick said.

The video was part of a promotion for an All Madden program airing on Christmas. But the clip alone was worthwhile to show Belichick’s appreciation and admiration for one of the NFL’s biggest legends.