A legend in the football broadcasting world has passed. Pat Summerall, long-time NFL broadcaster, former NFL player and beloved icon of the sport died early Tuesday morning at his home in Southlake, Texas. He was 82.
George Allen Summerall was born on May 10th, 1930 in Lake City, Florida where he was an exceptional baseball and football player. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in education and later his Master’s in Russian History.
Summerall, a former kicker, came out of the University of Arkansas having played defensive end, tight end, and was the team’s place kicker. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Suffering a broken arm in the pre-season, he was traded to the Chicago Cardinals, where he spent the next five seasons.
From Chicago, Summerall moved on to the New York Giants, having played in “The Greatest Game Ever Played” in 1958, which was the first ever NFL playoff game to advance to sudden death overtime. Summerall enjoyed his best season in 1959, going 30-for-30 on extra point attempts, and 20-of-29 on field goal attempts, netting a total of 90 points.
Upon retiring as a player, Summerall was hired to begin working as a broadcaster by CBS in 1962. He changed from color commentary to play-by-play during the mid-1970s, and was paired with the legendary John Madden beginning in 1981. Their first game together was in November, 1979. It began a partnership that lasted over 20 years with both CBS and Fox.
Summerall was involved in calling 26 total Super Bowls, 10 by radio, and 16 by television. He retired following Madden’s final broadcast with Fox, and briefly came out of retirement to work on regional Fox broadcasts, primarily calling Dallas Cowboys games because he lived in the area.
Pat always represented the essence of class and friendship. It is a sad day in the NFL.
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) April 16, 2013
During his celebrated career, Summerall was also involved in broadcasting the U.S. Open in tennis, The Masters in golf, and one NBA Finals in 1974. Once retired, Summerall would sometimes fill in occasionally on Fox broadcasts, his last NFL game being in December of 2007.
Summerall provided coverage of the Cotton Bowl from 2007 through 2009, and hosted the pre-game show for the Cotton Bowl in 2011. The final work of Summerall’s career was recording voiceovers for the NFL Network.
Summerall was the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio/Television Broadcasters Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, and he was named National Sportscaster of the Year in 1977 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1994.