He was an American football player and television sportscaster who worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN. In addition to football, he also announced major golf and tennis events. In total, he announced 16 Super Bowls on network television (more than any other announcer), 26 Masters Tournaments, and 21 US Opens. He also contributed to 10 Super Bowl broadcasts on CBS Radio as a pregame host or analyst. After retiring as a football player, he joined CBS as a commentator and worked with Tom Brookshier and John Madden on NFL telecasts for CBS and Fox. Though he retired in 2002, he continued to announce games on occasion.
He was named the National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 1977, and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1994. That year, he also received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999. He was honored by the NFL with an award named after him which is presented during Super Bowl weekend at the NFL headquarters “to a deserving recipient who through their career has demonstrated the character, integrity and leadership both on and off the field that his name represents.”
Early on in his career, much of his life was characterized by alcoholism and the abandonment of his family. In 1992, his friends and family staged an intervention on his behalf, encouraging him to get professional help for his alcohol problems. He was angry at the idea but reluctantly agreed to enter rehab. While in rehab, he made the decision that changed his life.
He said, “I realized there was a Savior, there was a God.” He made the decision to accept Christ as his Saviour and said, “once I began to realize His involvement in my life, it was easy [to overcome alcoholism]. I never had a craving since then. My thirst for alcohol was being replaced by a thirst for knowledge about faith and God. I began reading the Bible regularly at the treatment center, and it became a part of my daily routine. The more I read, the more I felt a void in my life that needed to be filled.”
He was later baptized at the First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas. He described emerging from the water as though he was surfacing in a new world. He said, “For the first time in my life, I knew what people meant about being ‘born again’. I had already accepted that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died for our sins. Now, I felt I was truly part of his family. I felt ecstatic, invigorated, happier, and freer. I felt as though my soul had been washed clean.”
His name is Pat Summerall.