Growing up and watching football as a little kid, there are few voices—if any—that stand out as much as the late, great Pat Summerall. The former NFLer-turned-broadcaster was far and away one of the most iconic voices on TV. When I think of Monday Night Football, my thoughts almost immediately turn to the Summerall/John Madden pairing and all of the whacky things Madden would say, but also the grace with which Summerall (somehow, through all the crazy lines and turducken carvings) was able to perform his job—one he held for 40 years.
The names he worked with, from Chris Schenkel to Jim Gibbons to Jack Buck, Ray Scott, and Madden, they were all giants in their own right, but Summerall—who played for 10 years in the league—just took his role to another level.
It was incredible to see all of the support and praise thrown at Summerall by celebrities and athletes throughout the country as news broke of his passing. But the one man I’m sure we all wanted to hear from was John Madden. His longtime friend and partner in the booth, released a statement last night that was short, sweet, and encompassed the thoughts and feelings of those who were close to him so well.
“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.”
Mike Ditka also summed up the life of Summerall well on ESPN yesterday.
Rest in peace, Pat Summerall.