John Madden and Pat Summerall — who died this week — were associated with no division so much as the NFC East. And their glory days of NFC East broadcasts coincided with the glory days of the Redskins, when every meeting with the Cowboys was seemingly a national event.
“CBS ought to do everything in its power to keep intact its Pat Summerall/John Madden duo,” Norman Chad wrote for The Post in 1985. “Summerall and Madden provide the proper balance of low-key, efficient play by play and exuberant, insightful analysis. Many folks, including myself, make a habit of shouting at the TV during games, screaming down the broadcaster when he says something idiotic or erroneous. When Summerall does a game, I’m reduced to shouting at the commercials. He’s so good you almost don’t know he’s there.
“Ever since George Allen’s glory days in Washington, Summerall, first with Tom Brookshier and now with Madden, has called CBS’ top football games,” Chad continued. “It’s hard to imagine Redskins-Cowboys showdowns or NFC title games without the cool, dispassionate direction of Summerall’s play by play.”
In that spirit, here are the Summerall introductions to two famous Redskins-Cowboys showdowns that were broadcast on CBS. The first, above, was the 1982 NFC title game, perhaps the most memorable NFL game played at RFK Stadium.
“RFK Stadium in Washington is sold out for the 122nd consecutive time,” Summerall says in the clip. “That should come as no surprise, as the Dallas Cowboys are in town for the NFC championship against the Washington Redskins. And this town, and these fans, have gone Redskin-wild.”
The second comes the following year, when the Redskins traveled to Dallas for a late-season showdown between perhaps the NFC’s best teams, both 12-2 at the time. It includes Summerall going through many of the highlights of the past decade of Redskins-Cowboys games, which is magical in itself.
“This afternoon in Texas Stadium, pro football’s greatest rivalry is raging once again,” Summerall says. “Three hundred dollars a ticket they’re talking about to get into this contest, one that has everything….This is one that has everything. There’s very little need to say anything else.”
Recognizing that, of course, is partly what made him so great.