Madden recalls Summerall as a “card-carrying good guy”

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Legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall died Tuesday at the age of 82.  His long-time broadcast partner, John Madden, shared his reaction with Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

Madden called Summerall a “card-carrying good guy.”  Madden described Summerall’s passing, which occurred as he recovered from surgery to repair a broken hip, a “damn shock.”

“He was so solid and a good friend and a real pro,” said Madden, who last worked with Summerall in February 2002, at Super Bowl XXXVI.  “He was always up, always had a joke.  Was low-maintenance for everyone. . . .

“You know in TV some of these guys have all the numbers and stats and notes?  Pat would come to a broadcast with nothing.  It was all in his head.  He didn’t have anything.  Could you see another play-by-play guy today doing that?”

Summerall’s simple approach came through in his delivery.  “He had that thing of, in one sentence he could say what would take others two or three paragraphs to say,” Madden said.  “He’d hit it right on the head.  That was why he was so great to work with.”

He was great to hear, also.  For those who grew up in the ’70s, it wasn’t Summerall and Madden but Summerall and Tom Brookshire, who together every week handled the top game on CBS.

The magical blend of voices cemented the bond between the NFL and thousands of 10-year-olds throughout the country.  Of the two, it was Summerall — the live-action equivalent to NFL Films master John Facenda — who became the official narrator of the game with which many fell in love.

If you’re too young to remember Summerall or if you just would like a nice blast of nostalgia, there’s plenty of great stuff on YouTube.  From the closing minutes of overtime in a ’76 Rams-Vikings game to the opening of a Giants-Rams playoff in ’84 to what apparently was the first time Summerall and Madden worked together to Summerall launching the first post-9/11 Super Bowl to the thrilling final moments of that game, there’s plenty out there.

Enjoy it, but don’t spend so much time watching that you get fired.

14 responses to “Madden recalls Summerall as a “card-carrying good guy”

  1. I grew up listening to Summerall, he’s the voice of the NFL from my childhood along with Madden. Announcing my Packer games with Favre, or watching on Thanksgiving with Deion and Emmitt.

    All that said, I’ll never forget the voice, that didn’t stop me from watching those posted vids though for nostalgia.

  2. By the time I started watching football summerall couldn’t tell the teams apart and all madden knew was that the team with the most points usually won.

  3. LOL you guys heard the 70s background theme music from the youtube link to their very first broadcast? Talk aboiut taking it back!

    I thought an episode of Shaft was about to begin or something.

  4. Just wow. We are losing our legends. Though it is true that no one gets off this rock alive, it is sad to hear someone I grew up listening to my whole football life (got into football for real in 1986 when I was 9) pass away. His voice was so memorable. May you rest in peace, Pat.

  5. I never notice the announcers until they screw up on calls. Madden was distinctive when he started, but then he became a cartoon version of himself. I remember Pat Summerall’s voice, but I don’t remember any of his work, any more than I remember the hostess from a restaurant I ate in in 1980. I have no idea what this ‘legendary’ thing is supposed to mean. The players are legendary. An announcer is just a guy. I’ve watched hundreds of NFL games since the mid-1960s, and there isn’t a single one I can remember that was great because of an announcer. This is just the media fawning over another media guy.

    No doubt Pat was a good guy – R.I.P. and bless his soul.

  6. Those two are miles above current announcers. We simply dont have personalities who are as entertaining as those two. Gruden doesn’t hold a candle to them. It is an era that will never be matched. In fact, no one seems to even try to find the talent needed to try.

  7. I can’t believe Tarkenton threw an interception from the Rams’ 11-yard line with a minute left in overtime! Just kick the field goal and win the game! What are you throwing for, and why would you throw it right to the defender? Tarkenton was Brett Favre before Brett Favre was even born!

  8. Football was still football when Pat was calling games. It has evolved into a “hey look at me” circus due to one thing…greed. Both players and owners have given us the “me” player rather than the “us” player.

  9. Yes…How I miss the simple approach. Today the broadcasters can’t give you a moment of silence. It’s constant blather.

  10. Sad to know, but hearing about his health I saw this day coming pretty soon.

    Big part of my childhood is gone. As a Bears fan, I enjoyed the broadcasts of Summerall and Madden and their appreciation for Ditka’s bunch (Madden says his favorite year in broadcasting is ’85). Back in the day when I started watching football like in the latter part of the ’80s, the Bears, Redskins, Giants, and 49ers fought against each other for the Super Bowl and made up a constellation in the NFC that dominated the NFL (during the ’12 season, I had a sense it would be renewed as they were doing well at the same time). And that broadcast duo, being right at the center, was as much a part of it as those teams.

    Even though Summerall had quite an association with the Giants and Cowboys (but he did play in Chicago one time), the Bears Nation will certainly miss him.

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