He Delivered

‘You son of a bitch, you can’t kick it that far!’  — Vince Lombardi

No Vince, you were wrong.  He delivered.

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Both on the field and off the field.

George Allen “Pat” Summerall (May 10, 1930 – April 16, 2013) was an American football player and television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, Fox, and ESPN.

A Hall of Fame sportscaster.

He delivered, for 50 years.

A Gentleman.  And he knew his craft.  A Professional.  Of True Value.

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He provided play-by-play or commentary on major sports events from the sixties to first decade of twenty first century.

A TV broadcast legend.  NFL Football, Tennis, Golf.

He was the authoritative voice of NFL football, announcing the most Superbowls of any broadcaster, a record 16.

He was the E. F. Hutton of football.  When he spoke, people listened.

In 1958, the Cleveland Browns  needed only a tie to clinch the Eastern championship. As time was running out, the Giants and Browns were tied, 10-10, a situation that, as indicated, favored the Browns. The Giants got barely into Cleveland territory, and then sent out Summerall to try for a tiebreaking 49-yard field goal. To add to the drama, there were swirling winds and snow. Summerall, a straight-ahead kicker, made the field goal with just two minutes to play, keeping the Giants alive for another week (they defeated Cleveland a week later, 10-0, in the Eastern Conference tiebreaker playoff before losing the sudden-death playoff to Baltimore the week after that). Giants’ offensive coach Vince Lombardi was against sending Summerall in  (Summerall had missed 31 yard attempt a few minutes earlier), and then gleefully greeted Summerall as he came off the field ‘You son of a bitch, you can’t kick it that far!  [Wikipedia, revised]

Yes, he was very human, and maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t the strongest kicker in NFL football.

But it was pretty good for a kid who was born into a broken family, with a club foot and twisted leg, cast off by his biological parents, and mostly raised by his elderly grandmother.

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Pat Summerall, Conservator Guardian, was named the National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 1977, and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1994. That year, he also received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999. The “Pat Summerall Award” has been presented since 2006 during Super Bowl weekend at the NFL’s headquarters hotel “to a deserving recipient who through their career has demonstrated the character, integrity and leadership both on and off the job that the name Pat Summerall represents.” [Wikipedia, revised]

Most likely a Provider Guardian, Summerall had done his job well, but he admitted his human weaknesses in his autobiography Summerall: On and Off the Air, in his battle with alcoholism.  He wasn’t always as good to his wife and kids, but he had always provided for them materially.

“He was an extraordinary man and a wonderful father. I know he will be greatly missed.” — Susie Wiles, Summerall’s daughter

Yes, he missed kicks.  But he kicked alcoholism.  And he delivered at the end.

Highly cooperative themselves, Providers are skilled in maintaining teamwork among their helpers, and are also tireless in their attention to the details of furnishing goods and services. They make excellent chairpersons in charge of dances, banquets, class reunions, charity fund-raisers, and the like. They are without peer as masters of ceremonies, able to speak publicly with ease and confidence. And they are outstanding hosts or hostesses, knowing everyone by name, and seemingly aware of what everyone’s been doing. Providers love to entertain, and are always concerned about the needs of their guests, wanting to make sure that all are involved and provided for. [Please Understand Me II]

openquoteWhen someone saves your life and gives you life, there’s gratitude, humility; there’s a time you’ve been so blessed you realize you’ve been given another chance at life that maybe you did or didn’t deserve.closedquote  — Pat Summerall

Other Provider Guardians: Studs Terkel, Manci Dirac, Denis Mukwege, Andy Griffith, Dick Clark, Tim Tebow, and President William Howard Taft.

0 thoughts on “He Delivered”

    1. Lombardi was a fire-and-brimstone coach in the 50’s and 60’s, but the phrase is pretty old, the Oxford dictionary dates it explicitly at 1705. 

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