The sports world lost a broadcasting legend with the death on Tuesday of Pat Summerall at the age of 82.
Though known to generations for his work as an announcer for the NFL, U.S. Open tennis championships and Masters Golf Tournament, Summerall actually spent 10 years as an NFL player before moving to the broadcast booth.
After playing college football at Arkansas, Summerall was drafted by the Detroit Lions, but a broken arm ended his first season in the league. He was traded to the Chicago Cardinals and spent five seasons with them primarily as a placekicker.
In an era when kickers were not often as involved in deciding games as they are today, Summerall converted 41% of his field goals and 95% of extra points with the Cardinals. He also played some defense and had the only pass interception of his career along with three fumble recoveries.
Summerall joined the New York Giants in 1958 and helped lead the team to the NFL Championship Game against the Baltimore Colts, a game commonly referred to as the Greatest Game Ever Played. His 49-yard field goal in the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns ensured a playoff for the conference title, which the Giants won.
The 1959 season was the best of Summerall’s career as he converted a career-best 69% of his field goals (20 of 29) and was perfect on extra points while scoring a career-high 90 points. He retired after scoring 88 points in the 1961 season.
Summerall began his broadcasting career working part-time for New York Giant games in 1962. In 1964 he was hired by CBS to serve as a color commentator for NFL broadcasts. He served in that role until 1974 when he moved to the role of play-by-play announcer. Read the rest of this entry →