He is a former American football player and well-known television sportscaster, having worked at CBS, FOX, and ESPN.
Summerall played college football from 1949 to 1951 at the
Arkansas, where he played defensive end, tight end, and placekicker. He graduated from UA in 1953.
Summerall spent 10 years as a professional football player in the National Football League, primarily as a placekicker. The Detroit Lions drafted Summerall as a fourth-round draft choice in 1952. Summerall played the pre-season with the Lions before breaking his arm, which ended the year for him. After that season, he was traded and went on to play for the Chicago Cardinals from 1953 to 1957 and the New York Giants from 1958 to 1961. His best professional year statistically was 1959, when Summerall scored 90 points on 30-for-30 (100%) extra-point kicking and 20-for-29 (69%) field goal kicking.
After retiring from football, Summerall became a broadcaster for the CBS network. He started in 1962 working part-time on New York Giants' broadcasts. In 1964, CBS hired Summerall full-time to work its NFL telecasts, initially as a color commentator and then (beginning in 1975) as a play-by-play announcer. Summerall also did sportscasts for the network's flagship radio station, WCBS-AM.
During the 1970s, Summerall usually worked with Tom Brookshier as his broadcasting partner for NFL (mostly NFC) games. In 1981, Summerall was paired with former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, a pairing that would last for 22 seasons on two networks and become one of the most popular pairings in football broadcasting history. Summerall also broadcast golf and tennis during his tenure at CBS. He continues to provide commentary for the Golden Tee golf video game.
In 1994, the Fox network surprised NFL fans by outbidding CBS for the NFC broadcast package. One of the network's first moves was to hire Summerall and Madden as its lead announcing team. The two men thus continued their on-air partnership through the 2001 season.
Summerall and Madden's last game together was Super Bowl XXXVI. After that game, Summerall announced his retirement and Madden was signed by ABC for that network's Monday Night Football telecasts. Summerall was lured out of retirement and re-signed with Fox for the 2002 NFL season, working with Brian Baldinger on regional telecasts before retiring again after one year.
Summerall called several 2004 preseason and early regular-season NFL games for the ESPN network, substituting for regular announcer Mike Patrick while the latter recovered from heart surgery.
Summerall has broadcast all or part of 26 Super Bowls, more than any other announcer. 16 of these were on network television with either CBS or Fox, with an additional 10 on CBS Radio