Pat Summeral Passes Away
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Legendary play-by-play man Pat Summeral died Tuesday at age 82. He was one of the greatest voices ever in professional sports.
It wasn’t just his artistic delivery on the microphone or his special voice, Summeral knew the game and he knew it well.
He at one time played in the NFL. 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.
Truth be known, his real name was George Summeral. He got the nickname ‘Pat’ by his ability as a placekicker. P A T for, ‘point after touchdown’.
After retiring from football, Summerall was hired by CBS Sports in 1962 to work as a color commentator on the network’s NFL coverage. Midway through the 1974 NFL season, CBS shifted Summerall from color to play-by-play.
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 November 25, 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.
Summerall also broadcast PGA Tour matches on CBS, including The Masters Tournament, as well as the US Open of tennis. Summerall’s last on-air assignment for CBS Sports was the 1994 Masters Tournament.
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.
Summerall has broadcast 16 Super Bowls on network television with CBS and FOX, more than any other announcer. 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. In 1999 he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame.
Summerall checked into Zale Lipshy University Hospital in Dallas, Texas, for surgery on a broken hip. He died there on April 16, 2013, of cardiac arrest at the age of 82.[