Pat Summerall

Sports Media Weekly No. 146- Barry Horn, Dallas Morning News

It’s a very busy sports media week and we have it covered on this edition of Sports Media Weekly.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are joined for the show by Sports Media Columnist for the Dallas Morning News Barry Horn.

We begin the program looking at the local media response in Boston to Monday’s tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon.  Ken and I discuss the local coverage, which led to the two local sports radio stations, WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub, suspending their regular programming to allow sports fans the opportunity to share their thoughts on the tragedy.

We then shift to the passing yesterday of legendary announcer Pat Summerall.  Barry had the opportunity to speak to Summerall on many occasions and had the same good things to say about the former CBS and Fox announcer as others regarding Summerall’s generosity and professional demeanor.

We move on to the announcement yesterday that Dan Hicks will replace Tom Hammond as the voice of Notre Dame football.  Barry predicts the move signals Hicks is being groomed to be the network’s lead play-by-play voice when Al Michaels decides to retire.

We finish the segment by looking at NBC’s plans for the English Premier League season later this summer and the viewership gains for CBS and ESPN from last week’s Masters.

Ken and I wrap the show by looking at a new policy announced at ESPN on how the network will attribute stories not broken by its reporters.

Pat Summerall, 1930-2013

Former NFL player and legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall died today at the age of 82.

Here are some reactions from the networks and personalities with which Summerall worked:

Fox Sports:

It is with tremendous sadness that we’ve learned today of Pat Summerall’s passing.  Pat was an icon in his profession, and was the voice that defined the NFL on television for generations of fans.  He and John Madden helped give FOX Sports and the NFL on FOX credibility when it launched almost 20 years ago, and for that we’ll be forever grateful.  Pat’s 50-year record as an NFL player and broadcaster is truly unique, and it will be very difficult for anyone to ever walk in his footsteps.  Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Pat’s wife Cheri and the Summerall family.

CBS Sports:

Pat Summerall worked for CBS Sports from 1962-94.  He called 13 Super Bowls, 26 Masters and 21 U.S. Open Tennis Championships for the Network

“There is no one more closely associated with the great legacy and tradition of CBS Sports than Pat Summerall.  His voice was synonymous with big events whether it was NFL football and the Super Bowl, the Masters or U.S. Open Tennis.” – Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports

“Pat Summerall was a hero to me.  I treasured the gift of friendship that I had with him.  I was his understudy for 10 years.  He could not have been more generous or kind to a young broadcaster.  He was a giant and one of the iconic figures in the history of the CBS Television Network.” – CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz

“In 1976 I was a junior in college and Chuck Will put me in the 18th tower as a spotter for Pat Summerall.  He told me, ‘You’re not going to meet a finer man in this business than Pat Summerall.’ And to this day, I never have.  He was kind to everyone.  When you were around him you never knew that he was the number one broadcaster.  He taught me so much, not only about this business, but how to treat people.  I’m sad on this day, but also smiling because I know he will be with his good buddy Tom Brookshier.” – Lance Barrow, Coordinating Producer, CBS Sports, Golf and NFL

“Pat was a friend of nearly 40 years.  He was a master of restraint in his commentary, an example for all of us.  He was also one of the great storytellers who ever spoke into a microphone.” – CBS Sports’ Verne Lundquist

John Madden:

“Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years. We never had one argument, and that was because of Pat. He was a great broadcaster and a great man. He always had a joke. Pat never complained and we never had an unhappy moment. He was something very special. Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be.”

As a youngster growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s Summerall was a big part of my NFL viewing life.  I remember his career with CBS and Fox, culminating with his call of the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win in 2012.  I also cherished his work with NFL Films.  In an era of over-the-top play calls, Summerall’s laid-back demeanor will be missed.  Rest in Peace.