My Lord, how could he not quit?
"I guess I've seen too many friends in football who hung it up and then got tired of playing golf, got tired of being around the house, had wives who got tired of them being around the house," Summerall says. "They ended up with an existence, not a life."
So, in his 50th NFL year he's limping to fourth-class games-Sinatra plays Branson, Mo.—because, "I still have a passion for the game. There's still magic in it for me." And he is still great. He still gives you more goose bumps per syllable than any other play-by-play man alive. Perhaps because he's the only one who doesn't think he's getting paid by the word. Remember? " Montana...Rice...touchdown!"
"Don't feel sorry for Pat," says his agent, Sandy Montag. "He's happy. He's still got his games." No, feel sad for us. We don't get to hear him anymore. Instead, we flip on the TV to see Madden working with Al Michaels, and it's like watching Bewitched with the wrong Darrin.
Madden just isn't right at night. He's Sunday afternoon and a Dagwood sandwich on your lap. It's as if half of him is missing. "I watch them," Summerall says of the new MNF team. "They just don't seem comfortable."
It's Ebert without Siskel. Starsky without Hutch. Trinidad and no Tobago. Worse, for the first time in 21 years, Madden and Summerall won't be coming over for Thanksgiving.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to do," Madden says of spending the holiday at home. "I don't know where I sit, and I sure don't know how to carve the turkey."
For Summerall, it will be worse. "I live 20 minutes from Texas Stadium," he says. "Maybe I'll wander over there and watch the game." Pat Summerall sitting in the stands, watching mutely as the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving Day?
You talk about heartburn.