It is the first time the former Foothill (Calif.) High teammates will face each other, and dad wouldn't miss it.
"It's not something you have a lot of chances to do," Madden said yesterday from New York. "It's only once in our lifetimes that this happens."
Mike isn't sure for which team his father will be rooting. "But I think I have mom talked into rooting for Harvard - because I'm the one supplying the tickets," he said the other night from Cambridge. "I think dad would like a 63-63 tie because we're both offensive players."
Joe, a 6-4, 275-pounder, made his first start last week for Brown. But tomorrow's game will be Mike's first start in his Harvard career.
Mike, a 6-foot, 195-pound English major who hopes to coach, has seven receptions for 65 yards this season. Five of those catches came in Harvard's 14-3 loss to Princeton last Saturday.
Considering his recognizable face and size, it is difficult for John Madden to be inconspicuous in the stands at a football game. But he tries by sitting in sparsely populated areas.
"I saw Mike play at Princeton," Madden said. "It was homecoming, so I just sat where the least amount of people were. It was a real festive occasion so they had a lot of things to do. They weren't too interested in me."
Predictably, Madden does not expect to sit still during the game.
"I would fidget if two cockroaches were racing," Madden said. "I'm just a fidgety person. But the good thing is, they both won't be on the field at the same time. I'll be able to root for the one who's on the field."
Asking the restless Madden to sit still is like asking Bob Seger fans not to tap their feet during a concert. But when Mike was a high school quarterback, his father occasionally produced Mount St. Helen's-type trembles like the ones he made famous when he was coaching the Oakland Raiders.
"I was a quarterback out of necessity," Mike said. "It was a real competitive league - five or six guys are now starting in the NFL (quarterback Jack Trudeau in Indianapolis, defensive end Keith Millard in Minnesota, nose guard Greg Kragen in Denver, guard Rich Moran in Green Bay and his brother, Eric, a tackle, in Houston). Ever since, I've been a tight end or wide receiver - it's been a little less hectic on his nerves."
Madden's sons say some of what the public sees of their father in those entertaining commercials is the real thing.
"He doesn't break through walls or anything like that," said Joe, laughing, over the phone from Providence, R.I. "He's relaxed, but concerned. I wouldn't think of him as the hyper guy you see on TV."
"Every once in a while he gets excited," Mike said. "But if he were more reserved, nobody would pay him money to do commercials."
The twice-a-week phone calls between Harvard and Brown this season have been littered with brotherly threats about who will win tomorrow.
"Ever since the summer we've been joking about who's going to kill who," Joe said. "If you would have asked him when we were 3-0 and they were 1-2 I think he would have been honest and said they probably would have problems against us.
"But when I talked to him last night, he was pretty confident. It's too bad we're going to have to spoil it for him."