Legendary NFL Announcer Pat Summerall Dies at 82
Pat Summerall died Tuesday. He was 82. The legendary sports broadcaster died in his hospital room at Zale Lipshy University Hospital, where he was recovering from surgery for a broken hip, a family friend said.
Summerall worked 16 Super Bowls in a network career that began at CBS in 1962 and ended at Fox in 2002.
In the 21 seasons in which play-by-play voice Summerall worked alongside John Madden, they grew into America’s most popular sports broadcast team. Their work for CBS at Super Bowl XVI, following the 1981 season, remains the highest-rated NFL game of all-time, with more than 49 percent of the nation tuned in.
“I was so lucky I got to work with Pat,” Madden said in an interview around the time of Summerall’s transplant. “He was so easy to work with. He knew how to use words. For a guy like myself who rambles on and on and doesn’t always make sense, he was sent from heaven.”
In a statement Tuesday, Madden added that his former partner “was something very special. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be.”
Madden was the first broadcaster Fox hired when it outbid CBS for NFL rights beginning in 1994. He insisted that Summerall be the second. Madden found no opposition.
“Pat Summerall set the standard for play-by-play announcers regardless of sport,” said Ed Goren, retired president of Fox Sports, who also worked with Summerall at CBS. “If he was an athlete, you’d call him a team player. Pat always deferred to others in the booth. He worried about the broadcast, never about his own role. He had a Hall of Fame career.”
Summerall watched CBS’ coverage of the Masters in his hospital room over the weekend and made a vow.
“I’m going to walk again,” he promised his visitors.
The sports world certainly lost a legend.