DALLAS (CBSNewYork/AP) — The voice of football. The NFL’s narrator for generations. A master of restraint.
The sport and the world of broadcasting have lost a true legend.
Pat Summerall soothed American television audiences over four decades — his deep, resonant voice and simple, understated style served as the perfect complement to the boisterous enthusiasm of John Madden, his partner in a celebrated pairing that lasted half of the NFL player-turned-announcer’s career.
Summerall died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton said, speaking on behalf of Summerall’s wife, Cheri.
Summerall called 16 Super Bowls and became such a large part of the NFL that it was easy to forget he was the leading voice of the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournament, as well.
“He was royalty in the broadcast booth,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
His final play-by-play words beside Madden were succinct, of course, as he called the game-ending field goal of the Super Bowl for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, when New England beat St. Louis 20-17.
“It’s right down the pipe. Adam Vinatieri. No time on the clock. And the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable,” Summerall said.
Sparse, exciting, perfect. A flawless summation without distracting from the reaction viewers could see on the screen.