Summerall, who lived in Southlake, Texas, died Tuesday at a Dallas hospital, where he was recovering from surgery for a broken hip.
Known for his deep, resonant voice and a smooth, understated delivery that wasted no words, Summerall worked with Tom Brookshier on the NFL for
"He was one of the card-carrying good guys," Madden told The Times on Tuesday. "He was so solid and a good friend and a real pro.
"You know in TV some of these guys have all the numbers and stats and notes?" Madden continued. "Pat would come to a broadcast with nothing. It was all in his head."
Summerall was the low-key, concise counterpoint to Madden, the former NFL coach who offered meandering yet knowledgeable analysis.
"In one sentence he could say what would take others two or three paragraphs to say," Madden said Tuesday. "He'd hit it right on the head. That was why he was so great to work with. In all the time I worked with him, we never had one argument. Even off-air.... That was because of him. I'm not the easiest person to get along with, but he was."
In 1999, Summerall was inducted into the American Sportscaster Assn.'s Hall of Fame. At the time, fellow sportscaster Dick Enberg said of Summerall, "His play-by-play coverage with John Madden epitomizes the highest level of talent in our profession."
Summerall worked 16 Super Bowls for CBS and Fox, the most by any network announcer.
In 2002, Madden left for
In 1983, after Dodger announcer Vin Scully left CBS to do baseball for
Before becoming a broadcaster, Summerall played 10 seasons in the NFL, primarily as a kicker with the
A bleeding ulcer almost killed him in 1990. The ulcer ruptured after he broadcast an NFL game in Washington and was flying home to Florida and having drinks on the plane. He ended up in a Jacksonville hospital, where a doctor told him, "If you drink, you die."
But that didn't stop Summerall. Seven months later, he began drinking again. "I drank in private," he told The Times.
In 1992, an intervention by about a dozen friends and family members and an ensuing 35-day stay at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage finally got him to stop. Despite maintaining sobriety, he had a liver transplant in 2004.
George Allen Summerall was born May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., with a deformed foot that required surgery to repair. Reared primarily by his paternal grandmother, he got the nickname "Pat" when he was a boy. In high school, he was all-state in football, basketball and tennis, and he also lettered in baseball.
In 1952, the Detroit Lions picked him in the fourth round of the
His entry into broadcasting came by accident. In 1961, Summerall, playing for the Giants, was rooming with quarterback Charley Conerly at a hotel before an exhibition game. Conerly was in the shower when a CBS radio executive called to remind Conerly of an upcoming audition. Summerall answered the phone and was invited to come along. Two other Giants players, Alex Webster and Kyle Rote, also went to the audition, but it was Summerall who got the job.
Summerall started out as a commentator. But Bob Wussler, the head of CBS Sports, decided Summerall and his play-by-play partner, Jack Buck, sounded too much alike, so Wussler moved Summerall to play-by-play and paired him with Brookshier.
Besides his wife Cheri, Summerall is survived by his three children from his first marriage to Katherine Jacobs, sons Jay and Kyle and daughter Susan.
Stewart is a former Times staff writer.
Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.