Legendary Broadcaster Pat Summerall Dies at 82

The deep-voiced broadcaster made his mark through his decades-long partnership with John Madden.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Pat Summerall on the sidelines during a Monday Night Football game Sept.19, 2005, in Irving, Texas. Summerall has died at the age of 82.

    Pat Summerall, the NFL player-turned-broadcaster whose deep, resonant voice called games for more than 40 years, has died at the age of 82.

    Summerall died Tuesday of cardiac arrest, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton said, speaking on behalf of Summerall's wife, Cheri. (Read reaction and quotes from those who knew him best here.)

    Summerall, a resident of Southlake, Texas, was known primarily for his broadcasting career and his decades-long partnership with color commentator John Madden.

    However, before broadcasting a single game, Summerall played college football for the University of Arkansas between 1949 and 1951. In 1952, Summerall began a 10-year career in professional football, playing first for the Detroit Lions, then the Chicago Cardinals and finally the New York Giants.

    Throughout his athletic career, he was primarily known as a place kicker, though did get in a few snaps at tight end for the Giants.

    After leaving the NFL, Summerall joined CBS Sports as a color commentator. He made his mark in broadcasting, though, through his partnership with Madden, to whom he'd be tethered to on-air for more than two decades.

    The pair moved to FOX in 1994 after leading the broadcast team for CBS since 1979.

    In broadcasting, Summerall was part of network television broadcasts for 16 Super Bowls. His last championship game was for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, also his last game with Madden.

    "He was something very special. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be," said John Madden via Fox Sports. "Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be."

    In addition to football, Summerall also provided commentary for PGA matches and U.S. Open matches.

    Over the years, Summerall retired from broadcasting at least twice, only to be lured back into the broadcast booth in 2002 and 2007.

    "All of us who are in any way sports fans can close our eyes, and hear his voice and know something important is happening. And by the way, if he was ordering grilled cheese for lunch, that made it a pretty important grilled cheese," said "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," sportscaster Brad Sham.

    Most recently, between 2007 and 2010, Summerall was the play-by-play voice of the Cotton Bowl Classic. Organizers tweeted the following message after learning of his death Tuesday.

    Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones released the following statement on the passing of Pat Summerall:

    Pat was the NFL’s narrator for generations, with a voice that was powerful, eloquent and distinctive.

    His presence at an NFL game elevated that event to a higher level. He was royalty in the broadcast booth. He was respected and admired by players, coaches, commissioners and Presidents of our country—and always a gentleman—someone who had time for the fans in the parking lot after the game.

    Humility and kindness were his closest companions. He was a trusted friend and confidant, and for all of his immense talents as a professional, he was an even better person.

    For a man who could dramatically capture a moment with very few words, there simply aren’t enough words to adequately describe what he meant to sports and broadcasting in this country.

    There is no question that Pat broadcast more Dallas games on CBS and FOX than any other man, and this is a great loss for thousands of Cowboys fans who spent their Sunday afternoons in the living room with Pat.

    Our hearts go out to Cheri and his family. Pat was an icon and an American original.

    Funeral arrangements for Summerall have not yet been revealed.