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Condolences for the Passing of a Great NFL Voice

Posted by Randy Lange on April 16, 2013 – 6:44 pm

Football has had several candidates for the Voice of God. John Facenda held that title, but Harry Kalas gave Facenda a run for his money, and so did Pat Summerall.

All three voices have been silenced in recent years, most recently Summerall, who died today near his longtime home in Southlake, Texas.

Summerall, 82, was a fine placekicker for the Giants back in the Fifties, when kickers often struggled with the 50% mark on their field goals. And he’ll forever be remembered for his basso voice and authoritative delivery and for his work alongside two partners in the pantheon of NFL broadcasting teams — Tom Brookshier, with whom he worked from 1974-80 on CBS, and of course Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden from ’81-93 on CBS and then from 1994-2002 on Fox.

“I was so lucky I got to work with Pat,” Madden told the Dallas Morning News. “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.”

George Allen Summerall was born in central Florida in 1930 and was raised by an aunt and uncle, who took to calling him Pat. Once he turned professional, he would always joke that only one person ever called him George again, “and that was on rare occasion.” That person: Jim Kensil, the late former Jets team president and aide to former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.

As a Dallas resident who specialized in NFC games, Summerall didn’t get to call many Jets games, just 10 in the regular season and one in the preseason. His first actually was as a three-men-in-the-booth color analyst alongside Brent Musburger, with Jack Whitaker handling the play-by-play, in the Jets’ 28-20 loss to Atlanta in 1973.

His first Jets game as the play-by-play man was the 1975 season finale, a 31-21 loss to the Cowboys. He called Jets victories over Tampa Bay in 1982, the L.A. Rams in ’83, and New Orleans in ’86.

Summerall’s last regular-season Jets game was the 35-30 loss to Philadelphia in 1993, the game that turned on Eagles CB Eric Allen’s 94-yard return of a Boomer Esiason interception with 8:43 to play.

And the last Jets game of any kind that he worked was the Jets’ 2004 preseason win at Indianapolis, when he filled in for Mike Patrick on ESPN’s broadcast of that game.

We extend our condolences to the Summerall family for their loss, and to fans of the NFL, the Cotton Bowl, the Masters and other sporting events who retain memories of the magic that still lingers in the very voice that Pat Summerall brought to the booth.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Condolences for the Passing of a Great NFL Voice”

  1. By Randy Lange on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    To all Radar commenters old and new: We’ve had technical issues that had prevented fans from sending in comments to the Radar. We hadn’t received any comments from 5:10 Tuesday evening until about 4:25 today. The first comments have come through from scjoe and Tom, so hopefully this issue is now resolved. Thank you for your patience.

  2. By scjoe on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for that information Randy. Don’t know if this will even get through but I hope you get those tech issues cleared up asap so wee all can enjoy your articles once more.

  3. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready to Draft Smart on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Most refreshing, game-changing pre-draft press conference in Jets history and we can’t even comment on it…

  4. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready to Draft Smart on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for getting us back on the field, Randy!

  5. By IRA on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Sad news about Pat he was the voice of the NFL.

  6. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 17, 2013 | Reply

    Well, my comment, Pat Summerall a man worthy of a 7 gun salute,Many great enjoyable moments in the booth with many other greats Rip

  7. By Tom Spicer on Apr 18, 2013 | Reply

    Rest in peace.

  8. By Allan O'Dane on Apr 18, 2013 | Reply

    R.I.P. Pat Summerall

    After looking over the draft board and viewing highlights and interviews, I am throughly convinced that we MUST draft Waramack. This is the best talent pool of OL in recent years. From Jockel / Fisher / Cooper / Waramack / Fluker.. Waramack along side Mangold will give the NYJ the kind of O-Line that we need to build. With Brick/Colon/Mangold.Waramack/Howard – this is where it starts. You can get all the pass rushers you want, they don’t block for the QB or RB or control the tempo of the game. There’s nothing more beautiful then to see a 90 yrd drive for a TD using 40% passing – 60% running and putting the defense on notice..It’s going to be a LONG day boys.

  9. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready to Draft Smart on Apr 18, 2013 | Reply

    Allan, three of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, on or off a football field are: (1) Hadl throwing to Alworth (2) Lamonica throwing to Wells (3) Namath throwing to Maynard. O’Brien throwing to Walker comes in a close (4).

  10. By Allan O'Dane on Apr 19, 2013 | Reply

    64tom..I never saw 1-2-3..but I did see #4. People can say what they want to say about O’Brien..but man-o-man did he have a great deep ball.. In my opinion these read option QB’s will be just a fad..defenses will start using hybrid safeties to spy on them and you are to see more of these Qb’s go down. They won’t last long running around with a 225 FS coming in to take them out. I like the typical drop back QB who has pocket presence. That’s why I am in no rush to see the NYJ draft a QB this year..not in the 1st rd anyway. This QB class does not impress me. And who knows what Gmac can do in this WCO…this system fits his style of play.

  11. By scjoe on Apr 19, 2013 | Reply

    64, don’t forget Dawson throwing to Otis Taylor! But for me, Namath to Maynard is far and away #1. 64, where do you rate “Mark” throwing to Stephen Hill? (lol)

  12. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Ready to Draft Smart on Apr 19, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah, scjoe, Dawson to Taylor was another and I particularly enjoyed predicting in high school to the old-school guys that the Chiefs would beat the Vikes in the SB. Mark throwing to Hill was awesome — for about one play in the opener last yr. Allan, I had no idea that you were so deprived! By all means, dig into the tape on 1-3. There’s an awesome clip on Lamonica on youtube called “The Mad Bomber” that has an impressive number of throws to Wells plus, of course, plenty to Biletnikoff. And I agree that O’Brien was pretty good. The constant beating on the Jets about not taking Marino is partly revisionism, when they were both actually playing you didn’t hear that nearly as much.

  13. By scjoe on Apr 19, 2013 | Reply

    64, I liked O’Brien, I really did, I always thought he got a bad rap. BUT, he was not Dan Marino! Imagine Marino throwing to Walker and Toon and McNeil out of the backfield. That would have been golden (in the words of still another corrupt liberal politician)

  14. By RONBO on Apr 20, 2013 | Reply

    tom64, dont forget Lenny Dawson to Otis Taylor! i dont know if the stats were as good as the ones you mentioned but they scared the crap out of me when we played them.Taylor was a beast! About 6-3 220 and fast.kind of the megatron of the late 60′s early 70′s

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