Big-game Pat Summerall had a voice we will always remember
Whenever you heard Pat Summerall's voice on the NFL, you knew it was a big game. Summerall passed away at the age of 82 on Tuesday, a voice gone but never forgotten.
Those of us who love the NFL will always remember those late Sunday afternoon games in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and can simply close our eyes and hear the melodic voice of Pat Summerall, a voice that told us we were about to see a big game.
A former NFL player, Summerall had one of those sweet, God-like voices that made you stand up and pay attention. Summerall, who died Tuesday at the age of 82, started out as a color guy, but that voice screamed play-by-play.
Most will remember John Madden as his partner. I will remember when it was Summerall and Tom Brookshier, two fun-loving former players who worked hard -- and, sadly, played just as hard away from the booth. That was as good a booth as you will ever see. They were friends, and it showed.
They eventually had to separate for the good of both men. Summerall settled in with Madden, and together they helped build the NFL into the monster that it has become. All told, Summerall did 16 Super Bowls, more than any other announcer.
Through it all, Summerall fought the demons of his life, his well-chronicled battle with alcohol. But even after he retired from the booth, his voice would always make you stand up and pay attention.
I heard him a year or so ago on a local radio interview in Jacksonville. As soon as I heard the voice, it took me to a different place.
It was a time when I had hair. It was a time when silk shirts were big. It was the Fun Bunch. And LT. And Montana. And Riggo.
And, of course, that voice.
It said a lot of things, but it always said this: You were watching a big game.
Rest in peace, "Big-game Pat." Your buddy, Tom, is probably waiting for you with a big smile, about to have a damn good time.
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