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George Allen "Pat" Summerall (born May 10, 1930 in Lake Citymarker, Floridamarker) 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 CBS and Fox's NFL telecasts, and in 1999 he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame.

Football career

High school

Summerall played high school football at Columbia High School in Lake City, Floridamarker, where he was recognized as an All-State selection in football, as well as basketball. He also earned varsity letters in both baseball and tennis.

College

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

Professional

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. Summerall played the pre-season with the Lions before breaking his arm, which ended the year for him. 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.

Broadcasting career

CBS Sports

After retiring from football, Summerall became a broadcaster for CBS Sports. He started in 1962 working part-time on New York Giants' broadcasts. In 1964, CBS hired Summerall full-time to work its NFL telecasts, initially as a color commentator and then (beginning midway through the 1974 season) as a play-by-play announcer. Summerall covered other events including ABA basketball. Summerall also did sportscasts for the network's flagship radio station until 1966 when he did a morning drive-time music/talk program, WCBS-AMmarker. 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.

During the 1970s, Summerall usually worked with Tom Brookshier as his broadcasting partner for NFL (mostly NFC) games on CBS, 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 Miamimarker 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 VikingsTampa Bay Buccaneers game.

Summerall's stature as the premier TV voice in pro football was a result of two things: first, his ability to play the "straight man" alongside John Madden's lively, verbose persona; second, his economical delivery that magnified the drama of a moment while allowing the pictures to tell the story. One of Summerall's most memorable on-air calls was his account of Marcus Allen's electrifying touchdown run in Super Bowl XVIII. The transcript is surprisingly sparse: "Touchdown, 75 yards!" That the quote is memorable is testament to the weight of Summerall's baritone-like voice when he was at the height of his powers as an NFL broadcaster. This was a hallmark of his broadcasting career as simple calls like "Montana......Rice.... Touchdown!"(describing a Joe Montana to Jerry Rice touchdown pass) to describe a big play were frequently used.

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. Summerall instead handled the call of the game on CBS Radio with Jack Buck, while Vin Scully and Hank Stram called the game on television. Meanwhile, John Madden was off to Detroitmarker to prepare for his Super Bowl telecast with Summerall. Hank Stram returned to his normal position as the color analyst on CBS Radio alongside Buck for the Super Bowl, while Summerall and Madden teamed for the first of eight Super Bowls together.

Summerall also broadcast professional golf and tennis (including the Mastersmarker and US Openmarker) during his tenure at CBS, and was the play-by-play announcer for the 1974 NBA Finals, CBS' first season broadcasting the NBA.

Summerall continues to do voiceover work on CBS' Masters broadcasts, and also provided commentary for the Golden Tee golf video game. Summerall's last on-air assignment for CBS Sports was the 1994 Masters.

The NFL on Fox

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. The two men thus continued their on-air partnership through the 2001 season.

Summerall and Madden's last game together was Super Bowl XXXVI. After that game, Summerall announced his retirement and Madden was signed by ABC for that network's Monday Night Football telecasts.

Post-Madden

NFL on Fox

Summerall was lured out of retirement and re-signed with Fox for the 2002 season, working with Brian Baldinger on regional telecasts (primarily featuring the Dallas Cowboys, since Summerall was a Dallas resident) before retiring again after one year.

In 2006, he returned to the broadcast booth, paired once again with Baldinger. In Week 8 (October 29) of that year, he called a game between the eventual NFC champion Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers.

Summerall provided the play-by-play for the December 9, 2007 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams in Cincinnati.

NFL on ESPN

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.

Cotton Bowl Classic

In January 2007, Summerall returned to Fox as the play-by-play voice of the network's coverage of the Cotton Bowl Classic game between Auburn and Nebraska. He also called the 2008 game, which featured his alma mater, Arkansas, taking on Missouri; and the 2009 game between Texas Tech and the Ole Miss. Summerall teams with Brian Baldinger on the Cotton Bowl Classic telecasts.

Super Bowl legacy

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 an analyst or pregame reporter.

Health issues

During the 1990 season, Summerall was hospitalized after vomiting on a plane during a flight after a 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.

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.

Outside of sports broadcasting

Summerall has been the 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.

In March 2008, Summerall signed on as the company spokesperson for Motivators, Inc., a Long Island based promotional products distributor. His image currently appears on the homepage of the company's website, www.Motivators.com, and Summerall also recorded a radio commercial that can be heard on the website.

Summerall was also associated with a production company in Dallas, Texasmarker, 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, Texasmarker.

Summerall was the narrator & sponsor crediter for the 2008 Masters Golf Tournament. He makes his home in Southlake, Texas, where he has lived for 12 years.

As previously mentioned, Summerall played himself in the 1977 movie Black Sunday, reprising his role as the play-by-play commentator in Super Bowl X.

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 also recently preached a sermon at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas.

See also



References

  1. American Sportscasters Association | Hall Of Fame - Pat Sumerall
  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. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/15642938.htm
  4. "Pat Summerall and Crystalens".
  5. Broadcaster Summerall, 78, resting after surgery


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