Pat Summerall, the venerable voice of major American sporting events for four decades, has died at the age of 82. The news was first reported by the Dallas Morning News.
Summerall was the voice of the NFL for two generations, first for CBS and then for Fox in the final years of his career. Before that, he plaeyd 10 seasons in the NFL primarily as a placekicker for the Lions, Cardinals, and Giants. His work in the broadcast booth spanned from Super Bowl II in 1968 as an analyst alongside Ray Scott to Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 where he was the play by play man with John Madden. In between, he called a record 16 Super Bowls and countless other NFL games as football became America's number one sport.
I grew up as a sports fan listening to Pat Summerall. Whether it was football, golf, or tennis, Pat Summerall provided the soundtrack to the biggest sporting events. And it wasn't just his iconic pairing with John Madden, which will go down as the most popular, successful broadcast duo of its generation. It was his work with Ken Venturi as lead CBS golf announcer that I'll remember right alongside his football work. No matter the venue, the broadcast partner, or the sport, Summerall's voice was always the same. Calm. Commanding. Reliable. That voice is one that will never be duplicated. When you heard Pat Summerall's voice, you knew what you were watching mattered.
His understated delivery made sure the game was always at center stage where it belonged. He never talked more than his broadcast partners. John Madden would never have been John Madden without a partner like Pat Summerall. Perhaps that's one of the greatest testaments to one of the greatest careers in not just sports broadcasting, but all of broadcasting.
Summerall's legacy has been far underrated by the social media generation. To be fair, maybe we've lost our way a bit in what makes the best sports announcers. Pat Summerall was never someone who would compel fans to make Youtube tribute videos. I even tried to find a favorite Summerall call from Youtube to try to insert in this article, but perhaps it's fitting there really isn't one. Summerall didn't need to jump out of his chair or come up with clever nicknames to do his job. In a sports world that lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps on viral videos, highlights, and catchphrases, Summerall was none of that flash. Only substance. Only the best.
@awfulannouncing Pat Summerall > Jim Nantz
Actually Matt Pat Summerall and John Madden used to work the Big Game on Cartoon Network against the Super Bowl!
@awfulannouncing Your post is spot-on. There will never be another announcer like Pat.
Chris Collinsworth is sliding downhill fast....needs to channel some Summerall, him and Madden were the best.
Awesome announcer. The current sorry state of NFL play by play guys could learn a thing or two from Pat.
The only jock-turned-broadcaster who ever fully made the transition to play-by-play anchor seamlessly. Frank Gifford also moved from color to play-by-play, but was seriously flawed at that job. Summerall was the best ever doing NFL play-by-play. The best 18th hole tower golf anchor ever. And one of the best tennis play-by-play anchors ever. Before moving into the play-by-play chair on NFL broadcasts for CBS, he spent several years as a color analyst. Sumerall was simply one of the best -- I would argue THE best -- sports play-by-play anchors who ever lived. And by the way, for your young fans who may not remember, Sumerall was half of TWO of the best football play-by-play tandems ever. Of course he was half of the Sumerall-Madden team. But before that, he was half of the Sumerall-Tom Brookshire team. Some of us might argue that Sumerall-Brookshire were even better than Sumerall-Madden. Certainly every bit as good.
@awfulannouncing there's a man down!