When you think of duos that fit together naturally and perfectly like peanut butter and jelly – Batman and Robin comes to mind. So does A Tribe Called Quest, Ashford–N-Simpson, Snoop and Dre, Jordan and Pippen … John “Boom” Madden and Pat “Gentleman” Summerall. You can’t have one without the other.
Summerall, a legendary voice in NFL broadcasting history died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest.
"He was a master of restraint in his commentary, an example for all of us,” said long-time CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist. “He was also one of the great storytellers who ever spoke into a microphone."
Summerall is one-half of the most prolific broadcasting team in NFL history. His deep, monotone-yet-stirring delivery was a perfect complement to the hyperactive, over-the-top enthusiasm of his partner, former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden.
Madden received major props for being boisterous, lovable and launching one of the highest-selling video game franchises in history. Summerall was more laid back and efficient, but just as insightful.
The “Fire and Ice” tandem are the only NFL announcers to date that were just as big and captivating as the games they announced.
Summerall played 10 respectable NFL seasons (1952-61) with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants, primarily as a placekicker. After retiring, he built a 40-year broadcasting career with CBS and Fox that included 16 Super Bowls, the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournaments.
The last half of his career was spent making history with Madden – and like a consistent bass line – embedding himself as a permanent fixture in the sound track of NFL shining moments.