George Allen “Pat” Summerall was born on 10 May, 1930 in Lake City, Florida, USA. Pat Summerall is a former American football player and well-known television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, FOX, and, briefly, ESPN.
Pat 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.
Pat Summerall played high school football at Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida, where he was recognised as an All-State selection in football, as well as basketball. Pat Summerall also earned varsity letters in both baseball and tennis.
Pat Summerall played college football from 1949 to 1951 at the University of Arkansas, where he played defensive end, tight end, and placekicker positions. Pat Summerall graduated from UA in 1953.
Pat Summerall spent 10 years as a professional football player in the National Football League, primarily as a placekicker. The Detroit Lions drafted Pat Summerall as a 4th round draft choice in the 1952 NFL Draft. Pat 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. Pat Summerall’s best professional year statistically was 1959, when Pat Summerall scored 90 points on 30-for-30 (100%) extra-point kicking and 20-for-29 (69%) field goal kicking.
After retiring from football, Pat Summerall became a broadcaster for the CBS network. Pat Summerall started in 1962 working part-time on New York Giants’ broadcasts. In 1964, CBS hired Pat Summerall full-time to work its NFL telecasts, initially as a colour commentator and then (beginning in 1975) as a play-by-play announcer. Pat Summerall covered other events including ABA basketball. Pat Summerall also did sportscasts for the network’s flagship radio station until 1966 when he did a morning drive-time music/talk programme, WCBS-AM. In 1969, Pat Summerall took part in NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl III.
During the 1970s, Pat Summerall usually worked with Tom Brookshier as his broadcasting partner for NFL (mostly NFC) games, and the colourful Summerall-Brookshier duo worked three Super Bowls (X, XII, and XIV) together. Pat Summerall, broadcast partner Tom 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, Pat Summerall was teamed with former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, a pairing that would last for 22 seasons on 2 networks and become one of the most well-known partnerships in TV sportscasting history.
Pat Summerall’s stature as the premier TV voice in pro football was a result of 2 things: 1st, his ability to play the straight man alongside John Madden’s lively, verbose persona; 2nd, his economic delivery that magnified the drama of a moment while allowing the pictures to tell the story. One of Pat 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 Pat Summerall’s baritone-like voice when he was at the height of his powers as an NFL broadcaster.
It is often mistakenly assumed that Pat Summerall and John 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. Pat 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 Detroit to prepare for his Super Bowl telecast with Pat Summerall. Hank Stram returned to his normal position as the colour analyst on CBS Radio alongside Buck for the Super Bowl, while Pat Summerall and John Madden teamed for the 1st of 8 Super Bowls together.
Pat Summerall also broadcast professional golf and tennis (including the Masters and U.S. Open) during his tenure at CBS, and was the play-by-play announcer for the 1974 NBA Finals, CBS’ 1st season broadcasting the NBA.
Pat Summerall continues to do voiceover work on CBS’ Masters broadcasts, and also provided commentary for the Golden Tee golf video game.
In 1994, the FOX network surprised NFL fans by outbidding CBS for the NFC broadcast package. One of the network’s 1st moves was to hire Pat Summerall and John Madden as its lead announcing team. The 2 men thus continued their on-air partnership through the 2001 season.
Pat Summerall and John Madden’s last game together was Super Bowl XXXVI. After that game, Pat Summerall announced his retirement and John Madden was signed by ABC for that network’s Monday Night Football telecasts.
Pat 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 Pat Summerall was a Dallas resident) before retiring again after 1 year. In 2006, he returned to the broadcast booth, paired once again with Baldinger. In Week 8 (29 October) of that year, he called a game between the eventual NFC champion Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers.
In January 2007, Pat Summerall returned to FOX as one of the play-by-play voices of the network’s coverage of the Cotton Bowl between Auburn and Nebraska. Pat Summerall called the January 2008 game, which features his alma mater, Arkansas, taking on Missouri.
Pat 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.” Pat Summerall and then-partner John 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.
Pat Summerall covered the Sunday 9 December, 2007 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams in Cincinnati.
Pat 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.
Pat Summerall has broadcast 16 Super Bowls on network television with CBS and FOX, more than any other announcer. Pat Summerall also contributed to 10 Super Bowl broadcasts on CBS Radio.
During the 1990 season, Pat Summerall was hospitalised after vomiting on a plane during a flight after a game, and was out for a considerable amount of time. While Verne Lundquist replaced Pat Summerall on games with John 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, Pat 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, Pat Summerall had a hip replacement surgery. On 19 June, he was hospitalised for internal bleeding caused by a new medicine he was taking.
Pat Summerall has been the spokesperson for True Value. Ironically, his long-time broadcast partner John Madden was the spokesperson for Ace Hardware, True Value’s main competitor in the independent hardware store market (Pat Summerall has continued as the longtime radio spokesman for Dux Beds, a Swedish mattress maker, and their Duxiana stores).
Pat Summerall was also associated with a production company in Dallas, Texas, from about the year 1998 to 2005. It was called Pat Summerall Productions. Pat Summerall 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, Pat Summerall hosted the “Summerall-Aikman” Cowboys report with quarterback Troy Aikman. Currently, Pat Summerall serves as the host of Sports Stars of Tomorrow and Future Phenoms, 2 nationally syndicated high school sports shows based out of Fort Worth, Texas.
Pat Summerall was the narrator & sponsor crediter for the 2008 Masters Golf Tournament. Pat Summerall makes his home in Southlake, Texas where he has lived for 12 years.
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