“The Greatest to do Play-by-Play in the NFL, Period. There is No One Close.” – Joe Buck
Emmy-Nominated Series Continues Tuesday, October 22,
at 9:00 PM ET
As a player and broadcaster, Pat Summerall’s football life spanned more than 50 years. His passion for sports encompassed 82 years. His voice is eternal.
NFL Network’s Emmy-nominated series A Football Life continues Tuesday, October 22 at 9:00 PM ET with a profile of Pat Summerall – the voice of the NFL. The one-hour special chronicles Summerall’s transformation from an athlete to broadcaster and details the personal battles and professional challenges he endured along the way.
After a successful career in the NFL as a kicker and with a little luck and a lot of talent, Summerall would fall into sports broadcasting. Behind a transcendent voice, Summerall developed a public persona which touched millions of viewers, influenced hundreds of this peers and became synonymous with Thanksgiving. Quite simply, through the years, his presence signified the magnitude of a sporting event.
Featured stories in Pat Summerall: A Football Life:
· Uphill Battle: Mentally, Summerall lived a fractured childhood. With his parents splitting-up before he was born, Summerall would live with his aunt and uncle as a boy before moving back in with his father. Physically, he was born with a club foot, which doctors said would prevent him from participating in athletic activities. Foreshadowing the rest of his life, Summerall endured.
In high school, he was an accomplished football and basketball player which culminated in receiving a football scholarship to the University of Arkansas as a tight end. An injury would end his days as an offensive specialist, but Summerall was undeterred. He transformed into a kicker and, once again exceeding expectations, he would go on to kick in the National Football League and participate in some of the most memorable games in league history.
· Voice of Authority: After starting out as a radio broadcaster, Summerall would eventually work his way into television and his second career took off. If there was a sporting event, Summerall had the talent to broadcast it. By the time he called his final game, Super Bowl XXXVI, he would call over 250 PGA Tour tournaments, numerous boxing and tennis matchups, a myriad of events and studio shows.
· The Greatest Broadcasting Duo in Sports TV: When John Madden left the sideline, television executives couldn’t wait to put him in the booth. However, the perfect partner for the former Raiders head coach with wasn’t as definitive. In 1981, after a few years as an analyst, CBS would pair Madden with two different play-by-play announcers – Pat Summerall and Vin Scully. When the year was complete, CBS executives, after much debate, paired the former Super Bowl-winning head coach with Summerall on a full-time basis and, unknown at the time, the greatest duo in sports broadcasting history was born. Summerall and Madden spent more than 20 years together, with two different networks, and broadcasted the NFL’s biggest games.
· Relationship with Tom Brookshier: Before he was teamed with Madden, Summerall worked with Tom Brookshier. In addition to being the No. 1 broadcast team on CBS Sports, the two cohorts were best of friends. Their camaraderie in the booth was palpable and resulted in seamless broadcasts. However, eventually their antics outside of calling the games became a concern for CBS executives. The demise of the popular duo is chronicled in the documentary.
· Greatest Achievement: Throughout his successful professional career, Summerall fought a personal demon: alcoholism. Years of drinking would put a toll on his family life and on his career. After years of battling the disease, Summerall finally sought help after an intervention was conducted by his friends and family. After leaving the Better Ford Center, Summerall would remain sober for the rest of his life – his greatest achievement.
Through archived NFL Films footage, Summerall details his life and tells his most unique stories in the one-hour documentary. Additionally, Pat Summerall: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people:
Kyle Summerall – Summerall’s son
Jay Summerall – Summerall’s son
Susan Wiles – Summerall’s Daughter
Cheri Summerall – Summerall’s wife
Mike Kennon – Summerall’s cousin
Hill Brannon – Summerall’s childhood friend
Barbara Brookshier – Tom Brookshier’s wife
John Madden – Summerall’s television partner
Jim Nantz – CBS Sports
John Mara – New York Giants owner
Frank Gifford – Former Giants teammate
Rosey Grier – Former Giants teammate
Troy Aikman – Former Dallas Cowboy and current Fox Analyst
Michael Irvin – Former Dallas Cowboy and current NFL Network analyst
Al Michaels – Current NBC football play-by-play commentator
Joe Buck – Fox Sports and son of Jack Buck, Summerall’s first TV partner
David Hill – Former chairman of Fox Sports
Ed Goren – Former president of Fox Sports
Lance Barrow – Coordinating producer at CBS Sports
Ted Shaker – Former Executive Producer, Fox Sports
Bob Stenner – Producer, CBS Sports
Mary Carillo – CBS Sports
Tim Finchem – PGA Tour Commissioner
Bob Ryan – NFL Films
Jack Nicklaus – Former PGA tour member
Sandy Grossman – Director, CBS Sports
Melva Shelby – Adron’s Shelby’s mother
John Daly – Professional golfer
A Football Life: Backstory – Immediately Following at 10:00 PM ET
New this season, A Football Life: Backstory airs following each A Football Life episode at 10:00 PM ET on NFL Network. The 30-minute show provides a deeper look into Pat Summerall’s life and story.
A Football Life: Xtra
Viewers can also interact with and follow the series on their phones and tablets with A Football Life Xtra. Located within the new NFL Mobile app, A Football Life Xtra features producer commentary, photos and artifacts from the NFL Films archives, and career stats and unique facts, as well as trivia games and polls on NFL legends. Visit NFL.com/XTRA on your mobile device to download NFL Mobile. Additionally, every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on NFL Mobile from Verizon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Airing on Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM ET throughout the NFL season, A Football Life series examines the iconic individuals and subjects that have had an undeniable and profound impact on the history of the National Football League, offering an inside look into their untold stories.
A broadcast schedule for future episodes of A Football Life:
- October 29 – Warren Sapp
- November 5 – Randall Cunningham
- November 12 – Cris Carter
- November 19 – The Forward Pass
Please click on the following link to view the trailer for this season of A Football Life: