An entire generation of NFL fans grew up listening to Pat Summerall and John Madden call the marquee games of the NFL on CBS, then Fox. They were the benchmark for both play-by-play and color analysis, the unquestioned best. Pat Summerall passed away this week of heart distress at age 82. At his memorial service on Saturday in Plano, TX, where Summerall retired, John Madden was one of the most anticipated speakers, and as usual, he didn’t fail to deliver. Summerall in Madden’s words (via Kareem Copeland at NFL.com):
“He is the voice of the NFL,” Madden said. “To me, he wasn’t a braggart. To me, he was John Wayne.”
After talking at length (something he was known to do on broadcasts), Madden looked upward
…he could hear Summerall’s voice, “Brevity, brevity, brevity” in his head, during his speech.
Madden interjected some lighter humor and colleague appreciation into the eulogy via DAVID WARREN (Associated Press)
“I got up this morning and I thought, `Pat, I need you,” Madden told the mourners. “I couldn’t get the tie straightened, a button buttoned. It was the same old thing.”
”He didn’t tell you he’d pull you through, he just damn did it,” Madden said.
The service was well attended by NFL and Dallas Cowboys legends and players, including Staubach, Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin.
Two calls of Summeralls that stick out in my mind, was his spot on call of Marcus Allen’s 74-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XVIII (notice how he avoided stamping on the action with needless words…not a word spoken after Allen crossed the 40), and countless “Aikman-to-Irvin…first down Cowboys” in the 1990s.
And referencing his previous two “goodbyes” with Summerall as colleagues on CBS and Fox, Madden summarized his thoughts poignantly.
“This is the third goodbye. The toughest,” Madden struggled to say. “Goodbye, Pat. Rest in peace. I love you.”
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