Like a lot of sports fans, I grew up listening to the brilliant tones of Pat Summerall. He had a voice that resonated with generation after generation.
Summerall, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 82, was as synonymous with fall Sunday afternoons as the NFL games that he would broadcast.
First with CBS and then with Fox.
Like Curt Gowdy and Howard Cosell, if Summerall was calling a game, you knew it was a big event. Many times, Summerall was greater than the event itself.
Although he is remembered best for his two-decade run with John Madden, I vivdly recall his partnership with Tom Brookshier. He and Brookshier called Super Bowl X, XII and XIV together. I watched all three of them. I can remember like it was yesterday Summerall’s play-by-play of Lynn Swann’s acrobatics in Super Bowl X and the Cowboys Doomsday defense’s annihilation of Denver’s Orange Crush in Super Bowl XII.
Summerall and Brookshier were friends off the air and you could tell they were buddies when they were in the booth together. They were an enjoyable listen.
Football wasn’t the only sport in which Summerall excelled. He and Brookshier did boxing together as they called Muhammad Ali’s 1976 knockout of the hapless Jean Pierre Coopman for CBS.
Summerall also did U.S. Open tennis as he and Tony Trabert were brilliant is decribing the triumphs of John McEnroe and the failures of Bjorn Borg.
I don’t watch much golf, but Summerall made it sound exciting as he was a fixture at The Masters for many years.
His resume speaks for itself.
The voices of my youth are being silenced forever. Summerall, Brookshier, Gowdy, Cosell, Chuck Thompson, Bill O’Donnell, Don Meredith and Al McGuire are all gone now.
Gone and never to be replaced, quite frankly. All were unique personalities who brought much more to the table than reading stats, screaming like a crazy person or doing a cheap imitation of others.
They’re all gone and will never, ever be forgotten.
RIP Pat Summerall.