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Pat Summerall - RIP
Old 04-17-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
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Pat Summerall - RIP

Pat passed away yesterday of a heart attack at age 82. I met him, Kyle Rote, and Frank Gifford when I was in elementary school and remember that occassion well. What a very nice man, player and sportscaster. Pat will be missed by many. He lived a short distance from me and I would see him occassionally when passing by his estate.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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...and he could play football, too. Most of the obituaries focus on Pat Summerall's fame as a broadcaster, but he was a player first. I was a little too young to follow him during his playing days, but I definitely heard about him later. His winning kick against the Browns in 1958 was legendary - supposedly nobody knows exactly how long it was, because heavy snow had completely obliterated the hash marks.

In a lot of ways, that Giants-Browns game was the last game of an era. It has always gotten prominent mention as one of the great games of the NFL's first 50 years, but it's also a game that few people remember today. But in 1958 the days of the NFL playing its games in obscurity were quickly coming to an end. The Giants would go on to lose the title to the Colts in the famous overtime game. The following year the Packers hired a promising Giants assistant named Vince Lombardi as their new head coach and in 1960 a second Giants assistant named Tom Landry would become head coach of the expansion Dallas Cowboys. Who knows how history would have unfolded if Summerall had missed the kick? I think in particular that it's likely the Packers wouldn't have hired Lombardi in 1959 if the Giants hadn't advanced to the 1958 NFL title game.

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Warming up, specialist Pat Summerall tested his injured right leg gingerly, trying field goals at varying distances, wincing a little as he kicked. "You better warm up," he told Don Chandler, the New York Giants' No. 2 place kicker. "I don't think I'm going to be able to kick."

Four and a half minutes before the game ended, with the score then tied 10-10, he tried a field goal from the Cleveland 31-yard line, and the ball slithered to the side of the target.

Now, with two minutes left and the snow interposing a cottony fog between him and the goal posts 49 yards away, Summerall tried again. Charley Conerly cleaned the snow from a spot on the Browns 49 and stretched his hands for the snap. Summerall took the mincing steps which precede the kick and lifted the ball high and far into the whiteness and then looked up to watch its flight. Conerly looked up prayerfully from his kneeling position. The ball, like a sliced golf ball, bored to the right of the goal posts as it took off, then curved and went cleanly through, and the New York Giants, a team which has lived with adversity all season, beat the Cleveland Browns to gain a tie for the Eastern Conference championship of the National Football League.
The latter belonged to Pat Summerall, and with it he - 12.22.58 - SI Vault
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:01 AM   #3
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I liked him. Too many of these such guys on TV just like to hear themselves talk.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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When I was growing up, if Pat Summerall was on, the game was important. Or maybe it just seemed important because he was on. I hated it when he moved to Fox because we lost him as the lead for The Masters and tennis US Open. I guess he would have been a fun one to hang out with in the day. Read an article on how him and his previous side kick Tom Brookshier would party it up. Night before a game they were covering, they were at a bar getting rowdy with the other customers. The ended up having some of the customers making themselves a human goalpost in the bar, took the toupee off the bartender and turned it into a "football" kicking field goals over the "goal post".
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
When I was growing up, if Pat Summerall was on, the game was important. Or maybe it just seemed important because he was on. I hated it when he moved to Fox because we lost him as the lead for The Masters and tennis US Open. I guess he would have been a fun one to hang out with in the day. Read an article on how him and his previous side kick Tom Brookshier would party it up. Night before a game they were covering, they were at a bar getting rowdy with the other customers. The ended up having some of the customers making themselves a human goalpost in the bar, took the toupee off the bartender and turned it into a "football" kicking field goals over the "goal post".
A.K.A. "a hair-raising event".
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by heeyy_joe View Post
I liked him. Too many of these such guys on TV just like to hear themselves talk.
True. Particularly on golf telecast. He was good doing that too. But in football, him teaming up with John Madden made a great combo.
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