Pat Summerall, one of the most famous sportscasters of all time, has died at age 82, the Dallas Morning-News reports. Known for bringing his dulcet, almost restful near baritone to the restlessness of the NFL as a play-by-play announcer on CBS, Fox, and ESPN, Summerall also played nine seasons in the league with the Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals, and New York Giants. Paired in the broadcast booth with John Madden for 21 seasons, and for eight Super Bowls, Summerall was a favorite in the '80s and '90s for his sparse style. He stayed out of the way and let the sound of the game do the work for him, speaking only when its necessary, working a reserve many of today's broadcasters should probably study. Summerall was elected into the American Sports Writers Hall of Fame in 1994. He received the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting in 2011. Summerall was, by all accounts, one of the great television voices in the history of sports. Here's his call of "The Catch 2," when Steve Young hit Terrell Owens to lock up the last San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl victory:
Here's Summerall reflecting on his work with Madden over the years.
If you're interested in further reading about Summerall after his passing, we'd like to recommend this New York Times piece about his overcoming struggles with alcohol, or this Sports Illustrated profile of him from all the way back in 1987. This speaks for itself:
Pat Summerall told me that even after he and Madden split, he'd do play-by-play from his couch when JM was on TV. It was a reflex. RIP.— Bryan Curtis (@curtisbeast) April 16, 2013
Update: Here's a statement from Madden....
Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of theseyears. We never had one argument, and that was because of Pat. He was a great broadcaster and agreat man. He always had a joke. Pat never complained and we never had an unhappy moment. He wassomething very special. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.