SBD/Issue 88/Sports Media

Super Bowl XXXVI Will Be Summerall's Last With Madden

Fox Sports NFL announcer Pat Summerall announced yesterday that his 21-year partnership with analyst John Madden will end after Super Bowl XXXVI, but in N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes Summerall "insisted that he was not retiring, and that he might continue to work" for Fox. Sandomir notes the "top candidate to replace" Summerall is Joe Buck. Summerall said that he "would like to call tennis or golf again," and added that he would "still consider calling football" for Fox, "specifically if his partner" was Troy Aikman. But Summerall said, "Troy's next step is up, and I can't see working with me as a step up for Troy" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23). Summerall's agent Sandy Montag said that there are "plans to talk" with Fox Sports execs in February or March (NEWSDAY, 1/23). Summerall said that he "has already spoken" with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem about covering golf (WASHINGTON POST, 1/23). Meanwhile, when asked if Summerall had talked to CBS Sports execs, Montag said, "Pat's still under contract (to Fox)" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/23). Summerall: "If there hadn't been talk about Fox possibly breaking up John and me, I wouldn't be looking to move on. ... This is totally my move. But I'm not saying that they are not glad that I decided to do it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/23).

ALL ABOUT DEMOS? Summerall said that his health "was not a factor" in his decision (MILWAUKEE J-S, 1/23). Summerall added that he "is not convinced his age [71] has been a detriment to his survival in this business." Summerall: "Certainly, Fox is directed at the younger fan; all networks are trying to attract younger audiences. But look at Chick Hearn and Keith Jackson and Ernie Harwell. People like to go back to the times when their families connected. As long as a guy doesn't lose his enthusiasm for staying on, I'm not sure age is a factor in any endeavor. Not as long as you have a joy for life" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/23). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser, on Summerall's move: "What it means to me, if the hand of Fox is behind this, it's that terrible phrase, 'We want to skew younger'" ("PTI," 1/22). Summerall, on the upcoming Super Bowl broadcast, "Someone once said I cry at Wal-Mart openings. So I guess you can say I might get a little emotional" (L.A. TIMES, 1/23).

BIGGER BUCKS? ABC Radio's Keith Olbermann cites sources as saying that Buck will receive a raise to $3M per year (ABC Radio, 1/23).

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