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Pat Summerall
Summerall NYG
Summerall as a player with the New York Giants in 1962.
Personal Information
Position(s)
Placekicker
Jersey #(s)
88
Born: May 10, 1930, in
Died: April 16, 2013 (aged 82), in
Career information
Year(s) 19521961
NFL Draft 1952 / Round: 4 / Pick: 45
NFL Supplemental Draft / Pick:
College Arkansas
Professional teams
Career stats
FGA 212
FGM 100
PAT 257
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards

Pat Summerall (born May 10, 1930) is a former American football player and television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN.

Summerall is best known for his work with John Madden on NFL telecasts for CBS and Fox.

Football careerEdit

High schoolEdit

At Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida, Summerall played football, tennis, baseball, and basketball.[1][2][dead link] Although basketball was his favorite sport, he was recognized as an All-State selection in basketball and football.[3] He was inducted into the FHSAA hall of fame and was later named to the FHSAA's All-Century Team.

CollegeEdit

Summerall played college football from 1949 to 1951 at the University of Arkansas, where he played defensive end, tight end, and placekicker positions. He graduated from UA in 1953.

ProfessionalEdit

Summerall spent ten years as a professional football player in the National Football League, primarily as a placekicker. The Detroit Lions drafted Summerall as a fourth-round draft choice in the 1952 NFL Draft.[4] Summerall played the pre-season with the Lions before breaking his arm, which ended the year for him.[5] After that season, he was traded and went on to play for the Chicago Cardinals from 1953 to 1957 and the New York Giants from 1958 to 1961, during which he was a part of The Greatest Game Ever Played. His best professional year statistically was 1959, when Summerall scored 90 points on 30-for-30 (100%) extra-point kicking and 20-for-29 (69%) field goal kicking.

Summerall's most memorable professional moment may well have been at the very end of the Sunday, December 14, 1958 regular season finale between his Giants and the Cleveland Browns at Yankee Stadium. Going into the game, the Browns were in first place in the Eastern Conference, holding a one-game lead over the second-place Giants. In that era, there was no overtime during regular season games, standings ties were broken by a playoff, and there were no wild-card teams. This meant that only the Eastern Conference champion would qualify for the NFL Championship Game to be held two weeks later, and it meant that the Giants had to win just to force a tiebreaker playoff game. The Browns, on the other hand, needed only a tie to clinch the Eastern championship. As time was running out, the Giants and Browns were tied, 10-10, a situation that, as indicated, favored the Browns. The Giants got barely into Cleveland territory, and then sent out Summerall to try for a tiebreaking 49-yard field goal. To add to the drama, there were swirling winds and snow. Summerall, a straight-ahead kicker, made the field goal with just two minutes to play, keeping the Giants alive for another week (they defeated Cleveland a week later, 10-0, in the Eastern Conference tiebreaker playoff before losing the sudden-death playoff to Baltimore the week after that). Giants' offensive coach Vince Lombardi was against sending Summerall in[6] (Summerall had missed 31 yard attempt a few minutes earlier), and then gleefully greeted Summerall as he came off the field 'You son of a bitch, you can't kick it that far![7][8] Sports Illustrated ran the story as one of its primary articles the next week, with a leading photograph showing the football heading between the uprights through the snow.[9]

Summerall's last professional game was the December 31, 1961 NFL Championship Game held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers defeated Summerall's Giants, 37-0, holding New York to just six first downs. Summerall was not a factor in that game.

Broadcasting careerEdit

CBS SportsEdit

After retiring from football, Summerall was hired by CBS Sports in 1962 to work as a color commentator on the network's NFL coverage. CBS initially paired Summerall with Chris Schenkel on Giants games; three years later he shifted to working with Jim Gibbons on Washington Redskins games. In 1968, after CBS abandoned the practice of assigning dedicated announcing crews to particular NFL teams, Summerall ascended to the network's lead national crew, pairing with Jack Buck and then Ray Scott.

Summerall also covered other events such as ABA basketball for CBS during this period, and through 1966 hosted a morning drive-time music/talk program for WCBS-AM radio in New York. In 1969, Summerall took part in NBC's coverage of Super Bowl III. He also co-hosted the syndicated NFL Films series This Week in Pro Football in the late 1960s and early '70s.

Midway through the 1974 NFL season, CBS shifted Summerall from color to play-by-play. The network's #1 NFL crew now consisted of Summerall and analyst Tom Brookshier (with whom he had previously worked on This Week in Pro Football), and the colorful Summerall-Brookshier duo worked three Super Bowls (X, XII, and XIV) together. Summerall, Brookshier, NFL on CBS producer Bob Wussler, and Miami Dolphins owner Joe Robbie appeared as themselves during the 1977 film Black Sunday, which was filmed on location at the Orange Bowl in Miami during Super Bowl X.

In 1981, Summerall was teamed with former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, a pairing that would last for 22 seasons on two networks and become one of the most well-known partnerships in TV sportscasting history. Summerall and Madden were first teamed on a 1979 broadcast of a Minnesota Vikings–Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. While the two were paired on CBS, they called Super Bowls XVI, XVIII, XXI, XXIV, and XXVI together.

It is often mistakenly assumed that Summerall and Madden handled the call on CBS-TV for the 1981 NFC Championship Game, when San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark made "The Catch" to lift the 49ers to a 28–27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys and a berth in Super Bowl XVI. Instead, CBS' #2 broadcast team of Vin Scully and Hank Stram handled the broadcast while Madden was given the weekend off to travel to Pontiac, Michigan for the game and to prepare for the broadcast. Since Stram was Jack Buck's color commentator on CBS Radio, Summerall substituted for Stram as Buck's partner; this was the first time Buck and Summerall had called a game together since 1974, when then-lead color commentator Summerall was moved off of Buck's team to become CBS television's lead play-by-play voice for the NFL.

Summerall also broadcast PGA Tour games on CBS, including The Masters Tournament, as well as the US Open of tennis, during his tenure at CBS, and he was the play-by-play announcer for the 1974 NBA Finals, CBS' first season broadcasting the NBA on CBS.

Summerall's last on-air assignment for CBS Sports was the 1994 Masters Tournament. His last game alongside Madden for CBS was the 1993 NFC Championship Game in Irving, Texas.

The NFL on FoxEdit

In 1994, the Fox network surprised NFL fans by outbidding CBS for the NFC broadcast package. One of the network's first moves was to hire Summerall and Madden as its lead announcing team. While at Fox the pair called Super Bowls XXXI, XXXIII, and XXXVI together. The long-time partnership ended after Super Bowl XXXVI in early 2002, as Summerall had announced he would be retiring from announcing and Madden's contract had expired.

Post-MaddenEdit

Fox SportsEdit

Summerall was lured out of retirement and re-signed with Fox for the 2002 season. However, since Madden had left to take over the color commentator position on Monday Night Football for ABC and Fox had promoted Joe Buck to be its number one football play-by-play voice, Summerall was paired with Brian Baldinger on regional telecasts. Most of the games Summerall covered featured the Dallas Cowboys, due in part to his residency in the city. One of the games Summerall called was the Cowboys' game against the Seattle Seahawks at Texas Stadium, in which Emmitt Smith broke Walter Payton's career rushing yardage record. Summerall and Baldinger were joined by Daryl Johnston, who at the time was working as Fox's #2 color man with Dick Stockton and who was a longtime teammate of Smith's with the Cowboys, for this game.

Summerall retired again following the 2002 season but in 2006, he served as a substitute for Kenny Albert alongside Baldinger for the Week 8 (October 29) game between the eventual NFC champion Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers. Summerall returned for one game the following year to take Stockton's place alongside Baldinger and provide the play-by-play for the December 9, 2007 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams in Cincinnati.

From 2007 until 2010, Summerall appeared as the play-by-play voice of the network's coverage of the Cotton Bowl Classic game[10][dead link] between Auburn and Nebraska. Summerall teamed with Brian Baldinger on the 2007-09 Cotton Bowl Classic telecasts, and worked with Daryl Johnston on the 2010 game between Ole Miss and Oklahoma State. In 2011, Summerall appeared on the pre-game coverage of the Cotton Bowl.

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NFL on ESPNEdit

Template:Rellink Summerall called several preseason and early regular-season NFL games for the ESPN network in 2004, substituting for regular announcer Mike Patrick while the latter recovered from heart surgery.

Super Bowl legacyEdit

Summerall has broadcast 16 Super Bowls on network television with CBS and FOX, more than any other announcer. He also contributed to 10 Super Bowl broadcasts on CBS Radio as a pregame host or analyst.

Awards and honorsEdit

The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Summerall National Sportscaster of the Year in 1977, and inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1994.

Summerall was the 1994 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, bestowed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame "for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football".

In 1999 he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame.[11]

Since 2006 the "Pat Summerall Award" has been presented at the annual Legends for Charity Luncheon given on Super Bowl weekend at the NFL's headquarters hotel in the host city. The award is given "to a deserving recipient who through their career has demonstrated the character, integrity and leadership both on and off the job that the name Pat Summerall represents." Recipients have included James Brown (2006), Greg Gumbel (2007), Jim Nantz (2008), Chris Berman (2009), Cris Collinsworth (2010), and the entire NFL on Fox crew (2011).[12]

Health issuesEdit

During the 1990 season, Summerall was hospitalized after vomiting on a plane during a flight after a BearsRedskins game, and was out for a considerable amount of time. While Verne Lundquist replaced Summerall on games with Madden, Jack Buck (who was at CBS during the time as the network's lead Major League Baseball announcer) was added as a regular NFL broadcaster to fill-in.

In the spring of 2004, Summerall, a recovering alcoholic who had been sober for many years, underwent a liver transplant.

In 2006, Pat Summerall underwent cataract surgery, and had an intraocular lens implanted.[13]

In January 2008, Summerall had a hip replacement surgery. On June 19, he was hospitalized for internal bleeding caused by a new medicine he was taking.[14]

Death Edit

Summerall checked into Zale Lipshy University Hospital in Dallas, Texas, for surgery on a broken hip.[1] He died there on April 16, 2013, of cardiac arrest at age 82. After his death, Jerry Jones referred to Summerall as "royalty in the broadcast booth" while Madden called him "a great broadcaster and a great man" and added that "Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be."[27] Fellow broadcasters Jim Nantz and Verne Lundquist also made statements on Summerall's life.

A few days later, CBS Sports presented a tribute to Summerall during their coverage of the RBC Heritage golf event. Nantz and Gary McCord presented highlights of his life and career – both as a player and at CBS – ending with his 1994 Masters sign-off.[28] During a Fox NASCAR broadcast Chris Myers paid tribute to Summerall for Fox.

Outside of sports broadcastingEdit

Summerall provided voiceover sponsorship credits for CBS' Masters telecasts, and currently provides voiceovers for game coverage on NFL Network. He has also provided game commentary for the Golden Tee Golf video game series.

For many years Summerall has been a commercial spokesperson for True Value. Ironically, his long-time broadcast partner Madden was the spokesperson for Ace Hardware, True Value's main competitor in the independent hardware store market. Summerall has served as the longtime radio spokesman for Dux Beds, a Swedish mattress maker, and their Duxiana stores.

Summerall was also associated with a production company in Dallas, Texas, from about the year 1998 to 2005. It was called Pat Summerall Productions. He was featured and hosted different production shows such as, Summerall Success Stories and Champions of Industry. These qualified production segments would air on the Fox News Channel and later, CNN Headline News. During the mid-1990s, Summerall hosted the "Summerall-Aikman" Cowboys report with quarterback Troy Aikman. Currently, Summerall serves as the host of Sports Stars of Tomorrow and Future Phenoms, two nationally syndicated high school sports shows based out of Fort Worth, Texas.

Summerall was name-checked on The Simpsons in the 2007 episode "Springfield Up", where his caricature and name appear on the cover of a book held by Homer entitled "Smut Yuks." Summerall and then-partner Madden also appeared in (and lent their voices to) the 1999 Simpsons episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday", which premiered following the duo's broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIII on FOX.

Summerall also provided commentary, alongside Madden, on Cartoon Network's annual Super Bowl parodies, The Big Game, from 1998 through 2001.

Summerall appeared in the music video for Forever the Sickest Kids' 2010 single "She Likes (Bittersweet Love)".

Summerall also recently preached a sermon at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. He also has been a featured speaker at the Men's Gridiron Conference in Tuscaloosa, AL, where he related his giving his life to Christ during his stay at the Betty Ford clinic during his recovery from alcoholism.

Summerall makes his home in Southlake, Texas, where he has lived for 14 years.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Summerall and Levin, 2010 pg. 24-25
  2. Birdsong, Gaines, Summerall, Sutton headline Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2006 induction class, FHSAA press release dated February 22, 2006
  3. Summerall and Levin, 2010 pg. 25
  4. Summerall and Levin, 2010 pg. 27
  5. Summerall and Levin, 2010 pg. 28-29
  6. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 183
  7. Summerall and Levin, 2010 pg. 107
  8. Maraniss, 1999 pg. 184
  9. "Summerall's 49 Yarder Puts Giants in Playoff," The Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Mon. Dec. 15, 1958, p. 10.
  10. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/15642938.htm
  11. American Sportscasters Association | Hall Of Fame - Pat Sumerall
  12. http://www.legendsforcharity.com/
  13. "Pat Summerall and Crystalens".
  14. Broadcaster Summerall, 78, resting after surgery

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

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