'Voice of NFL' will temp for Mike Patrick

Updated: August 2, 2004, 11:03 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The longtime "voice of the NFL" is moving to ESPN, at least temporarily.

The network announced Monday that it has tagged play-by-play man Pat Summerall to join analysts Joe Theisman and Paul Maguire and sideline reporter Suzy Kolber for four preseason telecasts, beginning with Atlanta at Baltimore on Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

Summerall, who underwent liver transplant surgery in April, will be sitting in for ESPN Sunday night regular Mike Patrick, who is scheduled for heart bypass surgery this week. Patrick is expected to take over his play-by-play duties for ESPN's first regular-season Sunday night broadcast on Sept. 12.

"Our first priority is seeing that Mike has a full and smooth recovery," ESPN executive vice president Mark Shapiro said. "In the meantime, who better to come off the bench than a legendary voice like Pat Summerall."

Summerall could not be reached for comment following ESPN's announcement, but said last week that he was feeling no ill effects from his transplant surgery.

"I feel better than I have in the last five years," Summerall told the Dallas Morning News. "People tell me my voice again sounds as strong as it did a decade ago."

A broadcaster for 40 years, Summerall was the lead play-by-play man for CBS and Fox for 27. The 73-year-old was ejected from the starting team at Fox in 2001 and retired after the '02 campaign, calling Cowboys games in the interim.

He teamed with John Madden to call Fox's lead game from 1994-01, and they were the No. 1 team on CBS for 13 seasons before that. Summerall worked a record 16 Super Bowls during his network career, though he was an analyst for the first five.

In 1993, he was presented with an Emmy award for lifetime achievement followed a year later by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

In April 1997, Summerall was inducted to the NFL Alumni's Order of the Leather Helmet in recognition of his contributions to the sport.

Summerall moved to the broadcast booth in 1961 after a 10-year playing career with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants.

ESPN spokesman Rob Tobias told the Morning News that the network will decide after Summerall's temp assignment whether they will continue to work with him.

Information from SportsTicker was used in this report.