Longtime TV sports announcer Pat Summerall dies at 82

April 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM
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DALLAS, April 16 (UPI) -- Longtime CBS and Fox sports announcer Pat Summerall has died at a hospital in Dallas, where he was recovering from hip surgery, a family friend said. He was 82.

Summerall, who teamed with John Madden for 21 seasons on CBS and Fox telecasts of NFL games, died Tuesday at Zale Lipshy Hospital, The Dallas Morning News reported.

A placekicker for the NFL Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants from 1952-61, Summerall began working for CBS in 1962. He worked as a color analyst on football, and covered the Masters golf tournament, the U.S. Open tennis tournament and NBA basketball as well for the network.

Summerall switched from color to play-by-play, working with his announcing partner, John Madden, and when Fox began televising NFL games in 1994, Summerall and Madden moved from CBS to Fox.

"I was so lucky I got to work with Pat," Madden said. "He was so easy to work with. He knew how to use words. For a guy like myself who rambles on and on and doesn't always make sense, he was sent from heaven."

Summerall worked 16 Super Bowl telecasts, more than anyone else, before retiring from broadcasting in 2002.

Ed Goren, a former Fox Sports president who with Summerall at Fox and CBS, said in a statement Summerall "set the standard for play-by-play announcers regardless of sport," the Morning News reported.

"He had a Hall of Fame career," Goren said.

Summerall was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1994. The Pro Football Hall of Fame honored him in 1994 with its Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award "for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football."

The NFL has presented the Pat Summerall Award during Super Bowl week each year since 2006, honoring sportscasters who demonstrate "the character, integrity and leadership both on and off the job that the name Pat Summerall represents."

Summerall struggled with alcoholism, eventually spending five weeks in rehab at the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, Calif. The Morning News said he often credited his time at the Ford clinic with saving his life.

Born George Allen Summerall May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., Summerall, whose parents had divorced, was raised by relatives.

He was an all-state basketball and football player in high school and won the Florida 16-and-under tennis championship in 1946. He played college football at Arkansas, where he earned a degree in education and a master's in Russian history.

He played one season of minor league baseball but caught on in professional football after the Detroit Lions selected him in the fourth round of the 1952 draft.

He retired from broadcasting at age 71 after Fox discontinued his role as part of its lead NFL telecast team, but came back for a brief stint during the 2004 season on ESPN, and did play-by-play on the Cotton Bowl telecast for Fox in 2007 and 2008.

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