I listened today to Pat Summeral calling an old Bears game and remembered just how good he was. In the 1970s and 1980 on Sunday the top pro game would be called by Pat and eventually he would be joined by John Madden. John Madden called Summeral, "the voice of football and always will be."
There are plenty of good announcers today, but it's hard to think of them on Pat Summeral terms. For me, it seems like today's announcers can't conjure up the excitement in a genuine way and they can't help turning things negative if the game goes bad. A sports fan makes an investment in time every time he or she sits down to watch a game. The fan doesn't need to sit there and listen to the announcer grouse about the game. Summeral had a natural enthusiasm that you appreciated.
Summeral had a 10-year pro football career in which he played defensive end and kicker. He was drafted by Detroit in 1952, moved on the Chicago Cardinals and then finished off his career with the New York Giants from 1958-1962. Summeral had good company with the Giants who were frequently in contention during that period. His pro experienced help him in his announcing, but he never played his experiences up on the air.
When I was working with Pat McCaskey on Pillars of the NFL we covered some Baltimore Colts and New York Giants games. I was a fan of Summeral, but I did not know about his pro career.
See "The Day Dick Butkus Caught a Bobby Douglass Pass for the Win."