DALLAS — Pat Summerall, a University of Arkansas graduate who enjoyed a 10-year NFL career as a kicker and then had a broadcasting career which lasted more than four decades, has passed away at the age of 82.
The Dallas Morning News first reported the news on Tuesday afternoon, while the New York Times cited a family spokesperson saying that Summerall died from cardiac arrest during a hospital stay for a broken hip.
“Pat was the NFL’s narrator for generations, with a voice that was powerful, eloquent and distinctive. His presence at an NFL game elevated that event to a higher level,” said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “He was a trusted friend and confidant, and for all of his immense talents as a professional, he was an even better person. For a man who could dramatically capture a moment with very few words, there simply aren’t enough words to adequately describe what he meant to sports and broadcasting in this country.”
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement Summerall “was an ambassador for the Razorback program, our university and the entire state throughout his distinguished career.”
Summerall, a Florida native, was a defensive end, tight end and placekicker at Arkansas from 1949-51. His kick against fourth-ranked Texas is one of the most memorable plays in Razorback history, as it gave the Hogs a 16-14 victory, their first over the Longhorns in Fayetteville.
Summerall was a fourth-round pick of the Lions in 1952, but spent only one season there before moving onto the Chicago Cardinals from 1953-57 and then attaining his greatest success with the New York Giants.
In his final four NFL seasons with the Giants (1958-61), Summerall helped the football club to three first-place finishes and an NFL championship game appearance thanks to converting 136-of-138 points after touchdowns — which prompted his teammates to give the man whose given name was George the nickname, Pat, that lasted for the rest of his life.
As a broadcaster, Summerall called numerous golf events for CBS — including The Masters 26 times — but his best and most lasting work occurred in football. He was behind the microphone for a record 16 Super Bowls on network television, the first five as an analyst. He worked for CBS from 1961 to 1993, moved with the NFL to Fox in 1994, then retired after the 2002 season, but not before working eight Super Bowls alongside partner and former Raiders head coach John Madden.
“Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years,” Madden said in a statement. “We never had one argument, and that was because of Pat. He was a great broadcaster and a great man. He was something very special. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be.”
Following that initial retirement, Summerall worked occasional NFL games in 2004, 2006 and ‘07, while also calling four Cotton Bowls from 2007-10.
“Pat Summerall was a hero to me. I treasured the gift of friendship that I had with him. I was his understudy for 10 years,” said CBS talent Jim Nantz. “He could not have been more generous or kind to a young broadcaster. He was a giant and one of the iconic figures in the history of the CBS Television Network.”
For his efforts, Summerall was named national sportscaster of the year in 1977 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1994 — the same year the Pro Football Hall of Fame granted him the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for exceptional broadcasting contributions to the game.
Summerall was a long-time resident of the Dallas area.
The Commercial contributed to this article.