A broadcasting giant and an NFL Giant quietly slipped away on Tuesday as the result of cardiac arrest. But the death of Pat Summerall, 82, known as “The Kicker” during his broadcasting glory days with CBS has spurred a chorus of praise, remembrances and sorrow on Twitter, YouTube and around the Internet.
Summerall started in the NFL as a placekicker, playing 10 seasons from 1952 to 1961 for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants. He scored more than 500 points. But to most, Summerall is perhaps best known as one-half of a broadcasting duo rounded out by John Madden. For 22 years, the two provided play-by-play and color commentary for hundreds of the league’s most notable games. Summerall provided eloquence and understated power that delicately balanced Madden’s candor and humor.
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On Tuesday, John Madden spoke out about his long-time friend.
And other legends of the sport echoed Madden’s sentiments. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the press "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."
Jones went on to describe Summerall as "royalty in the broadcast booth."
Summerall is being remembered as a teacher, whose greatest example was less truly is more.
As much of a fighter off the gridiron as he was one, Summerall won the war against a formidable foe when he overcame alcoholism late in life. He went on the help Mickey Mantle find sobriety late in life as well, earning Summerall praise as a dedicated friend.
Perhaps his perseverance is what fueled Summerall’s appeal that spanned generations and multi-cultural boundaries. Even rappers like Lil Wayne took time to pay their respects.
“The greatest play by play announcer period!. Together, Madden and Summerall was like peanut butter and jelly. They just went great together! Rest on Peace Pat Summerall,” wrote YouTube user 78primetime.
“One of the great announcing voices ever, and a true class act,” one fan wrote.
“Rest in Peace Pat, You were one of the best in the business and always showed a lot of class. Wish we had more like you now!” echoed another.
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