A television sports announcer who was a familiar presence to countless fans for decades has died. USA Today reports that Pat Summerall, who worked for CBS Sports from the early sixties into the 1990s, died today at 82 in Dallas.
“For many sports fans in the 1960s through the 1990s, Pat Summerall was the voice of the NFL, starting with CBS’s Sunday telecasts and later with Fox, famously paired for much of that time with John Madden,” the story reports.
His daughter Susie Wiles told the Associated Press: "He was an extraordinary man and a wonderful father. I know he will be greatly missed."
Summerall reportedly died at Zale Lipshy Hospital, where he was recovering after undergoing surgery for a broken hip.
“Summerall worked a record 16 Super Bowls, drawing on his football relationships made during his nine-plus years as a kicker in the NFL, primarily for the then-Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants from 1952 to 1961,” USA Today reports. “He had been ill off and on in his later years. A recovering alcoholic, Summerall had a liver transplant in 2004, needing it even after 12 years of sobriety.”
Madden, his longtime partner, released a statement today saying: "Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years. We never had one argument, and that was because of Pat. He was a great broadcaster and a great man. He always had a joke. Pat never complained and we never had an unhappy moment. He was something very special. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be."
Summerall and Madden moved on from CBS to Fox Sports when CBS lost its NFL package following the 1993 season, the report notes.
“A man with many interests, Summerall also was called on by CBS to be the lead announcer for its coverage of PGA Tour events for many years as well as such major tennis events as the U.S. Open. He called 13 Super Bowls, 26 Masters and 21 U.S. Opens for the network,” the piece reports.
In a statement, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said: “There is no one more closely associated with the great legacy and tradition of CBS Sports than Pat Summerall. His voice was synonymous with big events whether it was NFL football and the Super Bowl, the Masters or U.S. Open Tennis.”
CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz added: “Pat Summerall was a hero to me. I treasured the gift of friendship that I had with him. I was his understudy for 10 years. He could not have been more generous or kind to a young broadcaster. He was a giant and one of the iconic figures in the history of the CBS Television Network.”