Pat Summerall’s most memorable call might be his touchdown versus the Patriots, a call that was so accurate that it was a classic. However, there are other memorable moments from Summerall’s tenure. In this piece, we’ll look at the other top calls from the legendary broadcaster, and explore how he became one of the most revered sportscasters of all time. Here are five of his best plays.
Pat Summerall was an NFL announcer for two decades, starting as a sideline reporter in 1967. He rose through the ranks to become play-by-play voice for John Madden in 1982. Their first game together was a 1967 indoor Silverdome matchup between the Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, in which the young Joe Montana threw and ran for a touchdown. Summerall and Madden called eight Super Bowls together, including the first in 1981. They worked Thanksgiving Day together and attended Lions games together.
While John Madden and Pat Summerall may have fought over the mic for years, the relationship between the two has endured. While both have a unique style, they were never rivals. Pat Summerall was outgoing and prone to brag about his alcohol problems, while John Madden is reserved and barely breaks a sweat when in a crowd. The two were a perfect pair. The NFL and Madden’s relationship are one of the greatest in sports broadcasting history.
Al Michaels, who replaced John Madden as NBC’s head coach, worked with the broadcast legend for seven years. Madden was seen as a nervous wreck in the live shot outside the booth during one game. But even despite his physical illness, Madden and Summerall became a legendary duo. Their last game together was Tom Brady’s first of seven Super Bowl wins. Their partnership was especially effective during the Wing-T era.
A long list of Pat Summerall’s greatest games was assembled when he first joined CBS in 1981. The pair teamed up for a Super Bowl broadcast, and Summerall was lauded for his staccato style and ability to paint pictures with the game’s terminology. After three years, they were replaced by John Madden, who was a former Raiders coach. Summerall still had fond memories of his former teammate, even though they no longer shared a stage.
A few years later, when John Madden was fired from the NFL broadcasting booth, Summerall sat with him in the empty stands of the Silverdome. Summerall nodded yes, and his eyebrows brushed together. The two men were a natural pairing. Their off-camera relationship is so cordial that they rarely check in on each other, let alone scribble out a script. However, they shared a comfortable on-air chemistry that they never planned for.
Despite the pain and injuries sustained while playing football, Pat Summerall is able to recall his best moments. The memories are as enviable as the memories they created. The two men’s conversations were rich and full of humor, but the real fun of the game lay in the moment. These moments of adversity, however, are what give life its color. Pat Summerall’s most memorable moments in football revolve around the game’s highs and lows.
“Brookie,” as Pat Summerall calls him, was the most appropriate way to describe Butch Cassidy, who was played by Tom Brookshier. Brookshier was an authentic character with no airs, high hats, or pretense. The two actors became an inseparable couple on sports television. Sadly, Tom Brookshier passed away last Friday. He was 78 years old.
As a young NFL player, Brookshier was drafted in the 10th round, which was a major coup as he knocked out top pick Al Conway in training camp. Brookshier went on to co-host This Week in Pro Football with Summerall, and they became a household name. Brookshier and Summerall were the best man at the latter’s wedding. In 1983, they became partners and co-hosted the show for four years.
In 1978, Summerall replaced Stram as Jack Buck’s color commentator. Buck and Summerall had not worked together since 1974. Summerall quickly rose to the position as the lead play-by-play voice for CBS television. Like Ray Scott, Summerall referred to teams by nicknames and cities. He made an impression on viewers with his witty observations about the players. Despite his early success on CBS, Brookshier was a heavy drinker and frequently slurred his words.
It may not be fair to say that Pat Summerall best calls Joe Buck. After all, he has called the World Series and Super Bowls for 18 years now. But is he the best caller of either? Let’s find out! Here are some of Buck’s best plays. And watch the video below to find out why. Then, rate each one below and let us know which one you prefer.
One of the best plays Buck ever called came in Super Bowl XXXIX, when the Giants beat the Broncos with Manning hitting Burress alone in the end zone. When the touchdown came, Buck recognized the moment when Manning hit Burress in the end zone, but waited for a penalty to get all hyped up. This play will always be remembered by Giants fans, but for those who didn’t grow up watching the game, Buck’s call is the best of his career.
Then, Summerall and Buck became partners again on CBS radio. Summerall was a longtime teammate of Buck and joined the broadcast team as a lead color commentator. The two last called a game together in 1974 when Summerall was the lead color commentator. After a few years, he was hired by CBS as a lead play-by-play announcer. He remained there until 2006, when Summerall retired from the NFL.
While most of us may not remember Pat Summerall’s first Super Bowl broadcast, his career was far from over. As a radio announcer, he made many memorable calls. But few people are familiar with his work with the Chicago Bears. While he spent a decade with John Madden on Fox, he has become one of the most sought-after voices in the NFL. He’ll be a big part of next week’s Cotton Bowl broadcast.
Summerall’s early career in broadcasting began at WCBS radio in New York. The call was for a reminder from an executive with the WCBS radio station. The call came while Summerall was in the shower. He was preparing to audition. Fortunately, the phone was not a teleprompter – it was a call from a radio station executive. In addition, the caller’s roommate was asking him to join the show.
While the game was a high-scoring affair, the Bears were unbeatable in the end. While the Giants’ offense scored three touchdowns, the Chicago defense allowed only 32. The Giants’ offense threw for just 216 yards, and the Bears held the Giants to fewer than one touchdown. The Bears also sacked Phil Simms six times. The defense, led by Otis Wilson, accounted for four quarterback takedowns and four sacks.
San Francisco 49ers
While there are many great calls in NFL history, none are better than one of Pat Summerall’s for the San Francisco 49ers. The former Eagles quarterback and CBS analyst was a renowned storyteller with a unique, staccato style of broadcasting. His partnership with Madden was a popular one and the two made three Super Bowls together. The two were featured in the 1977 film Black Sunday, which was shot on location in the Orange Bowl during Super Bowl X.
The 49ers’ first matchup with the Dallas Cowboys marked Summerall’s debut as a play-by-play announcer. Summerall had previously worked as a color commentator on CBS Radio, but replaced Stram as Buck’s partner. It was the first time the two had worked together, and the rematch between the Cowboys and the 49ers brought them closer than ever.
During the first eight Super Bowls, Summerall called the game, and his voice still required some growing. While many callers in the NFL adore Summerall, his best call was “Bear in the Face” in Super Bowl VI. It’s difficult to match his omnipotence and versatility. As a result, he was a highly coveted play-by-play man.