There was simply no other broadcasting tandem in American sports as inseparable in viewers' minds as Pat Summerall and John Madden. The pair called NFL games for 21 years, for CBS and Fox. After Summerall's death yesterday at the age of 82, it's only right to let Madden send him off.
Madden doesn't make many public appearances anymore—he's 77 years old himself. He stuck to two public comments on his friend and co-worker—a brief statement, and a short phone interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"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."
Saying Summerall's death was "a damn shock," Madden told the Times,
“In all the time I worked with him, we never had one argument,” he said. “That was because of him. I’m not the easiest person to get along with, but he was.”
“You know in TV some of these guys have all the numbers and stats and notes? Pat would come to a broadcast with nothing. It was all in his head. He didn’t have anything. Could you see another play-by-play guy today doing that?
“He had that thing of, in one sentence he could say what would take others two or three paragraphs to say. He’d hit it right on the head. That was why he was so great to work with.”
Madden would call Summerall "one of the card-carrying good guys."
Photo of a very young Pat Summerall via NFL Films