Pat Summerall, who's been the voice of NFL games for 41 years and has called more Super Bowls (16) than anyone else, is stepping down from the broadcast booth. After spending the past nine years with Fox, Summerall is retiring from play-by-play duty, he told the Dallas Morning News. Actually, the sportscaster, who turns 73 on Saturday, would have liked to have stayed longer, but Fox wouldn't agree to let the Dallas resident cover only Cowboys games. ''It just wouldn't have been proper to make the kind of commitment Pat was looking for at this time,'' Fox Sports president Ed Goren told the Morning News.
Summerall, who played in the NFL as a tight end for 10 years (with Detroit, then the New York Giants) before joining CBS as a sportscaster in 1961, was best known for his 21-season partnership with John Madden. Last season, when Summerall called 10 Cowboys games, was his first without Madden, who had moved to ABC. ''When John and I went to Fox, football was all they had,'' Summerall told the Morning News. ''The game was the big thing. I'm a football guy, not an entertainer. I don't think that fit in any longer with their philosophy.'' He said he would still try to see if the Cowboys would let him cover games for local broadcasts, and he remains a spokesperson for cable's Football Network, launching this fall.