Pat Summerall touched many lives in his 82 years, which was evident in the diverse, A-list roster of guests at a recent screening in advance of NFL Network’s latest “A Football Life,’’ which premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Among them were CBS president (and former Newsday paper boy) Leslie Moonves and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. But even those among us who did not know Summerall personally forever will recall him as the soundtrack of countless football Sundays.
As Joe Buck, Fox’s current lead play-by-play man, puts it in the film, Summerall was “the greatest to do play-by-play in the NFL – period. There is no one close.’’
Buck is one of many compelling talking heads in the documentary, including Jim Nantz, who speaks of Summerall with a mixture of warmth and admiration, and adds an amusing, dead-on imitation. Good stuff.
Before the screening I asked former teammate and fellow broadcaster Frank Gifford what set Summerall apart.
“So many broadcasters I’ve listened to over the years, without getting into name-calling, they care about themselves and how it flows out of their mouth,’’ Gifford said.
“Pat had a quality that is rare – particularly rare today. He painted the picture, then stood back.’’