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NFL notes: Pat Summerall dead at 82

Published April 17, 2013 7:47 am

NFL notes • Former player later became a legendary broadcaster.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Pat Summerall was the calm alongside John Madden's storm.

Over four decades, Summerall described some of the biggest games in America in his deep, resonant voice. Simple, spare, he delivered the details on 16 Super Bowls, the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournament with a simple, understated style that was the perfect complement for the "booms!" and "bangs!" of Madden, his football partner for the last half of the NFL player-turned-broadcaster's career.

Summerall died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest, said University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton, speaking on behalf of Summerall's wife, Cheri.

"Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years," Madden said in a statement. "Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be."

His final play-by-play words beside Madden were succinct, of course, as he called the game-ending field goal of the Super Bowl for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, when New England beat St. Louis 20-17.

"It's right down the pipe. Adam Vinatieri. No time on the clock. And the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable," Summerall said.

Sparse, exciting, perfect. A flawless summation without distracting from the reaction viewers could see on the screen.

At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as "a treasure" and the "spirit of the National Football League" in a tribute to the partner that complemented the boisterous former Oakland Raiders coach so well.

As former teammate and broadcaster Frank Gifford put it in an accompanying video tribute: "America is very comfortable with Pat Summerall."

Summerall played 10 NFL seasons from 1952 to 1961 with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants, but it was in his second career that he became a voice familiar to generations of sports fans.

Broncos' Bailey not conceding anything

Champ Bailey is cranky. He's also as confident as ever.

And no, he's not going to admit his body is creaking as he approaches his 35th birthday and prepares to face rookie receivers who were just learning their ABCs when he entered the NFL in 1999.

He's still irked by that loss to Baltimore in the playoffs and the way he got burned by Ravens receiver Torrey Smith. He's heard the whispers that he should move to safety and how quarterbacks now won't shy away from him anymore.

With nearly three dozen candles about to adorn his birthday cake, Bailey insists he's not willing to concede anything to age, has no plans to switch positions and welcomes any quarterback or offensive coordinator who wants to target him in 2013.

And if the Broncos want to select his heir apparent in the upcoming draft, he's fine with that, too.

"I'm blessed, trust me," Bailey said this week as the Broncos reported for the start of voluntary offseason workouts in Englewood, Colo. "Everybody back there would love to stand up here and say, 'I'm 35 years old.' It is what it is. When my time runs out, I'll run away from it. But for the time being, I'm still here."

Bailey was among several Broncos stars who had poor performances in their early exit from the playoffs three months ago after they'd earned the AFC's top seed with an 11-game winning streak and seemed Super Bowl-bound.

Smith got behind the 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback for a 59-yard touchdown and then beat him for a 32-yard score, all part of an uncharacteristic day for the Broncos, who lost that game in double overtime, once again denying Bailey a chance at a championship that has always eluded him.

"Don't get me wrong, but even if we'd won, I'd look at it the same way: What did I mess up? What I could've done better going forward, little things like that. I'm always looking at tape the same way, not hurting about it," Bailey said. "It does hurt that you lose the last game, but you can't let it affect you."