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Summerall: On and Off the Air

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1 review about Summerall: On and Off the Air

The quiet voice of a fallen professional

  • Feb 8, 2013
Pat Summer all was known for years to millions of NFL fans as the calm and quiet voice sitting beside the boisterous John Madden.  He was considered the consummate professional as a broadcaster and a respected member of the retired player community.

But as he tells in this autobiography, Summerall was living a hard life of traveling and drinking with all-too-willing companions.  The years of travel and drinking, neglecting his wife and three children, wrecked his marriage, his health, and his soul.  Brought to the brink of death and the loss of his relationships with his now grown children, Summerall turned his addiction over to the Bette Ford Clinic, his ruined liver over to a Mayo clinic transplant team, and his soul over to God.

Throughout this story from his birth with a serious birth defect in a small town into a broken home all the way through his 10-year NFL career and the broadcasting career for which he is now best known. Summerall tells the story with the voice he used in the booth.  Speaking quietly and steadily with the minimum number of words to convey the meaning, Summerall covers his playing career on less than 50 pages but spends 75 on "The Reckoning" as he calls his recovery experiences.

A quick check of Wikipedia today show Summerall (now 82)  is still alive but still paying the price for his years of alcohol abuse in physical ailments, but as he says in this book, his focus is on telling others of the healing grace that saved his soul and repaying the human compassion to the family of the young boy who provided the transplanted organ that kept his voice alive.

The Pat Summerall revealed in his words is a man who lives up to the image of quiet professionalism he projected all those years.  And knowing the story behind the image makes him an even stronger and more heroic person than the image.  Well worth the reading.

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