John Madden pays tribute to Pat Summerall in emotional speech

By Matt Rybaltowski |

Thousands attended the memorial service for Pat Summerall on Saturday. (USATSI)

In an emotional speech commemorating the life of Pat Summerall, John Madden described his longtime broadcast partner as the voice of the NFL for more than two decades.

“To me he wasn't a braggart,” Madden said. “To me, he was John Wayne.”

Thousands of mourners assembled at a suburban Dallas church Saturday for Summerall's memorial service to pay tribute to the legendary broadcaster. Jerry Jones, Troy Aikman, former Vikings owner Red McCombs and former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles were also among the dignitaries who attended the service. Summerall died at the age of 82 on Tuesday of cardiac arrest.

Summerall spent 10 years in the NFL as a player, entering the league in 1952 with the Detroit Lions. In four seasons with the Giants (1958-1961), Summerall made 59 field goals, including 20 in 1959, when he connected on 69 percent of his attempts. Summerall also spent four seasons with the Chicago Cardinals, where he received sporadic playing time at right defensive end from 1956 to 1957, on top of his kicking duties.

(Courtesy: Dan Taylor)

Summerall, who distinguished himself with his humble, understated approach to broadcasting, called NFL games with Madden for 22 years. Following his retirement from the NFL, Summerall joined CBS as a color analyst before becoming a play-by-play announcer 12 years later. Besides his work in football, Summerall was also a fixture on Masters' golf tournament and U.S. Open tennis broadcasts for CBS.

Madden and Summerall called their final NFL broadcast on CBS in 1994,after the network lost the NFC broadcast rights to FOX. The announcers, who worked together for the next eight seasons, called their final game in 2002, a 20-17 Patriots' win over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

"This is the third goodbye -- the toughest," Madden said. “Goodbye, Pat. Rest in peace. I love you."

Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter @mattrybaltowski.

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