NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall dies at age 82

Published On April 17, 2013 | By Meghan Riggs

Pat Summerall, the football player turned legendary play-by-play announcer, died Tuesday. He was 82.

A family spokeswoman, Valerie Bell, said Summerall had been at Zale Lipshy University Hospital since Thursday, when he broke his hip in a fall at his home in Southlake, Tex.  She said he was undergoing rehabilitation at the hospital when he experienced sudden cardiac arrest.

Summerall was best known for teaming with former NFL coach John Madden in the broadcast booth for 22 years. Summerall also worked for years alongside former player Tom Brookshier and became the voice of the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s, calling most of the league’s signature games.

As a kicker for the 1958 New York Giants, Summerall delivered a game-winning 49-yard field goal in the final two minutes of the last game of the regular season to beat the Cleveland Browns 13-10.  The win brought the Giants a division playoff game with the Browns a week later, which the Giants won to advance to the championship game that is known as “The Greatest Game Ever Player.” The Giants lost that game to the Baltimore Colts.

Summerall retired after the 1961 season with 563 career points, all coming on field goals and extra points except for one interception return for a touchdown.

Summerall was the Giants’ kicker for the final four of his 10 professional seasons. But what ended up making him truly famous was that voice. His voice became one of the iconic voices in sports history during a broadcasting career that spanned six decades and included a record 16 televised Super Bowl broadcasts.

His voice was well-known by thousands of football fans, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

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

Fox Sports described Summerall as “an icon in his profession” and “the voice that defined the NFL on television for generations of fans.”

He spent more than 40 years in broadcasting with CBS and Fox. Although best remembered for his football work, he was also the voice of the Masters golf tournament and the United States Open tennis tournament.

Today his voice is gone but not forgotten. For countless sports fans who recall it along with some of the great games and plays they’ve ever seen, that voice is unforgettable.

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About The Author

Meghan is a junior at Boston University majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communications. She has been an athlete her whole life and is a member of the Women’s Ice Hockey team at BU. She is also a member of BUTV10’s sports talk show, Off Sides.