George Allen “Pat” Summerall was born May 10, 1930 in Lake City, Florida. Ironically enough, Summerall passed away in Dallas. Summerall attended the University of Arkansas and he was a 4th round pick of the Detroit Lions as a placekicker. He only played the pre-season as he broke his arm. He was traded the next season to the Chicago Cardinals. He played for the Cardinals from 1953-57 until he signed by the New York Giants in 1958. Summerall finished his playing days in 1961. From there, he signed on a career that would span four decades. Incidentally, he was nicknamed “Pat” due in part to the statistics reading “PAT Summerall”, the acronym for Point After Touchdown.
Pat Summerall was the voice of the most famous tag team of broadcasters, as Summerall and John Madden called games for CBS from 1962 until 1993. Then in 1994, they continued their work on the FOX Network as FOX outbid CBS for the rights to broadcast NFC games. The last game Summerall called for CBS was the 1993 NFC Championship game as the Dallas Cowboys played the San Francisco 49ers. Summerall continued to call games after his retirement in 2010, his last few years he called the Cotton Bowl Classic. He did do the pre-game coverage in 2011. That was Summerall’s last broadcast as an announcer/color commentator.
Summerall broadcasted 16 Super Bowls for CBS and FOX, more than any other announcer. In 1994, Summerall was awarded the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. He was also inducted into the American Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2006, the first Pat Summerall Award was presented to James Brown. The award is given to the “deserving recipient who through their career has demonstrated the character, integrity and leadership both on and off the job that the name Pat Summerall represents.” Past recipients include Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Chris Berman, Cris Collinsworth, and the entire NFL on Fox crew.
What many of you don’t know is that Summerall was an advocate of staying sober after battling a long time bout with alcoholism. Summerall drank to deal with the pressures of playing football then eventually the pressures of being a popular broadcaster. Eventually he went to the Betty Ford Clinic, where put the demons of drinking behind him. He found Christ and was baptized at the age of 64. The heavy drinking still took a toll on his body even after he stopped, he had liver problems. In 2004, he underwent a liver transplant.
Summerall passed away today at the age of 82 and many Cowboy fans remember listening in to Summerall and Madden would call many games for Dallas. Remembering from my childhood, I couldn’t wait for the games to start and it was even better when it was Summerall and Madden. Summerall was the constant professional even when Madden would get into his “bams and booms” as he described plays using his virtual chalkboard.
Many fans will remember Pat Summerall, you can even listen to some of his broadcast from years ago thanks to youtube.com. I took that opportunity, listening and watching the Cowboys play the 49ers in the 1993 which as I mentioned earlier; was the last CBS broadcast for Summerall. If you have the time, go to youtube.com and type in your favorite Cowboys game to see if Pat Summerall is calling the game.
On behalf of the Landry Hat, our prayers and thoughts go out Cheri Summerall and Pat’s family…his biological and football.