Voice of the NFL in his own words
Pat Summerall was playing catch-up from the day he was born. Summerall: On and Off the Air is the veteran broadcaster's almost painfully honest look at a life full of ups and downs. Summerall's parents split while his mother was pregnant, leading him to bounce from family member to family member during his childhood in Florida. His career in sports couldn't have been more unlikely, as he was born with a right foot so twisted that doctors had to break the bones to point it in the right direction. Told he might not be able to run normally, he nevertheless played football and became, of all things, a kicker. Summerall played in the NFL just as the league was starting to bloom. After a decade in the pros, he almost stumbled into a second career as a football broadcaster in the early 1960s just as television's association with the NFL was about to explode. He became one of the best in the business: His minimalist style of play-by-play was the perfect complement to John Madden's expressiveness, and two covered eight Super Bowls over 20 years. Summerall tells many stories about his glory days with CBS, and some of them have alcohol as a component. He paid the price, becoming an alcoholic and ruining his liver, before finding sobriety and faith relatively late in life. I entered this world a little twisted, he writes, and it took a while longer than anticipated to get me completely straightened out.