Want a raise? Maybe an extra half- a-million bucks a year? Simple. Don't pout. Just go about doing your job quietly and your boss will tear up your old contract for $700,000, even though it has three years to run, and hand you a new five-year package worth $1.2 million a year.
That's exactly what happened to CBS sportscaster Pat Summerall, who proves over and over that nice guys can settle in at the top, even in the elbow-thrusting business called sports television.
Summerall's niche seems secure in the minds of viewers as well as network executives. In a poll of readers conducted by Sport magazine, he was named the most popular NFL play-by-play announcer, ahead of Dick Enberg and Frank Gifford.
The executives signaled their confidence in Summerall before the current football season when they called Summerall's agent and said they wanted to renegotiate the sportscaster's contract. The network then finished a highly publicized negotiation with Brent Musburger, who netted $1.8 million a year after ABC made a pitch for his services.
Summerall, who was making a mere $700,000, didn't pine. He only said of Musburger's windfall, "That's a lot of money." Despite his obvious value and importance to CBS, not only as its top pro football play-by-play man but also as its No. 1 man at golf and tennis events, Summerall said nothing else at the time.
"I had a contract with three years to run and was perfectly happy to abide by it. It is often said that loyalty in this business is a one-way street. This showed me it didn't have to be a one-way street," said Summerall of his new contract. "It was a vote of confidence and that was every bit as gratifying as the money."
"We said at the time we signed Brent that Pat means as much to us," said CBS Sports presdient Peter Lund. "So we decided to make a new deal for Pat. Ordinarily, you like to keep your talent happy. In Pat's case it was less of a factor because of his loyalty to CBS."
According to Sport magazine, there is a lot of fan loyalty to Summerall. In the January issue, Summerall was voted the best NFL play-by-play man, getting 32 percent of respondents' votes compared to 25 percent for NBC's Enberg and 20 for ABC's Gifford. Madden was rated tops among the color broadcasters by a whopping 62 percent over NBC's Merlin Olsen, who received 22 percent. As a team, Summerall and Madden outpolled Enberg and Olsen 48 to 30 percent.
Many sports fans still look upon Summerall simply as an old football player. Summerall doesn't see himself that way, but even by his own account his professional r,esum,e is a simple one: "I was a pro football player for 10 years," he said. "I've been a broadcaster for 24 years."
John Madden, who works with Summerall as the other half of the network's No. 1 NFL team, offers needed embellishment. He sees Summerall as a professional and a friend, and only incidently as a former player. "There is no play-by-play guy that knows the game as well as Pat," said Madden. "Sure, he played 20 or 25 years ago. But if you have to go back to that, it's a nodder -- you know, puts you to sleep.
"He not only played the game, you know, he was once a coach under Harlan Svare with the Rams."
And, Madden added, Summerall has never stopped doing his homework before a telecast. "He watches film every week and knows what's going up,"said Madden. "His memory enables him to talk about what he learned watching films when the right time comes.
"He has an amazing talent, the best memory of anyone I know. At meetings and talking to coaches and players, he doesn't take notes. I do. Then on the air he can quote what was said better than I can, and I'm the guy who took the notes."
Executive producer Terry O'Neil likes to sum up his opinion of Summerall with two words: "The greatest." Beyond that, "as a colleague, there is just none better," he said. "No one is more easy-going and pleasant. Even when the pressure is at its greatest, no one is more understanding and more malleable.
"On a professional level, the thing that distinguishes him from the others is his economy of the language. He says more with fewer words. With today's sports TV glut, I feel the viewers appreciate his economic style."
O'Neil likes to recall an incident, and "there are many," to illustrate Summerall's brevity and authority. At a Redskins-Cardinals practice last season, Summerall heard Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann calling several audibles, which was unusual. One was "089," a pass to Calvin Muhammad. After practice Summerall talked with Theismann and learned that the Redskins felt they might have to use more audibles against the Cardinals.
Late in the game, the field microphones picked up Theismann calling an audible, "089." "Yup," recalled O'Neil, "Muhammad caught a pass and Summerall was then able to give his viewers an insight that is often lacking in other telecasts."
In his early years, Summerall worked with Ray Scott for about six seasons. Scott was considered the game's best play-by- play man. "I don't think he made more than two or three mistakes in all those years," Summerall recalled. "He taught me never to jump into anything until I'm sure. Also, it's a visual medium and you don't have to tell the viewers what they're looking at. You should amplify and clarify."
And that's what he does for 26 football games a year, plus 20 golf tournaments, the U.S. Clay Court Tennis Championships and the U.S. Open. He used to do many other sports -- just about any you can name -- but his current football, golf and tennis schedule fills up his calendar.
Summerall has broadcast more Super Bowls -- 17 of 19 -- than anyone else. In the early days of the NFL-AFL merger, league rules called for Super Bowl announcers to be from both sides. Summerall was loaned to NBC by NFL-connected CBS on some of those occasions. He also did some Super Bowl work on radio.
"I often think about how lucky I've been, all the people I've met and the events I've covered," said Summerall of the formidable list.
His solid, no-frills style has prompted some to call him the Tom Landry of announcers. "I would be very proud of that association," he said.
His current association with the colorful Madden points up his unselfish, low-key approach to celebrity. At the Super Bowl in Tampa a couple of years ago, he and Madden came out of the Redskins' motel and were mobbed by fans. Summerall signed a few autographs and then stood at the door of their waiting limousine, while Madden continued to sign many more and talk with the fans. Summerall's patience seemed endless even though the pair was due shortly at a Raiders' practice.
"I just wonder how long it will take," Summerall said, looking on. "I'm glad it's not me (doing all the signing). I'm willing to accept it as part of the package."
When Madden, who was relatively new at the time, was asked how his popularity and outgoing personality go down with his veteran partner, he said, "The last thing he would ever think of is jealousy. It would never cross his mind. He's not a big ego. It could be because of beer commercials that I get this attention." Madden said. ". . . He's never once brought up the subject."
Summerall, who has worked with many other analysts, gave these thumbnail sketches of four of them:
John Madden: Unique. Enthusiastic. Hard-working and loves what he's doing.
Tony Trabert: Good friend. Tremendous knowledge. Great love of the game.
Ken Venturi: Same as Trabert.
Tom Brookshier: Laugh a minute. Very good friend. Almost like a brother. Tremendously unpredictable. Enthusiastic. A love for life. And, an emphasis on unpredictable.
Summerall is professionally identified with football, but other sports and other pursuits have been important to him.
He went to the University of Arkansas on a basketball scholarship.
He was a starting defensive end and placekicker in football. Drafted by the Detroit Lions, he was immediately traded to the Chicago Cardinals where he played a lot of defensive end from 1952 through 1957. In the off-season he went back to Arkansas and earned a masters degree in Russian history, only the third awarded at that university.
Russian history? "As an undergrad I had this history professor, Dorsey Jones," explained Summerall. "I was always interested in history. He taught history like it was a novel. I couldn't wait to get to his classes. The way he ran his classes I even enjoyed taking a test. He was teaching Russian history on the graduate level and that's how I got my masters in Russian history."
He was traded to the New York Giants where he played both defensive and offensive end in addition to placekicking from 1958 through 1961. "With the roster limits as low as they were, you had to do more than kick," Summerall pointed out.
During his pro career he scored 567 points, 101 field goals, 258 extra points (including a string of 129 consecutive extra points just before he retired) and a lone touchdown.
He is perhaps best-remembered for a game-winning 49-> or 50-yard field goal in a heavy snowstorm to beat Cleveland, 13- 10, on the last day of the 1958 regular season. That kick tied the Giants' record with the Browns; a victory in the tie- breaker put New York into the championship game against Baltimore, a contest won by the Colts in sudden death and still considered by many to be the best pro football game ever played. Summerall remembers the Cleveland kick with typical nonchalance, and just a bit of bravado. He still believes the kick was longer than 50 yards, but, he said, "who could tell in all that snow? That's okay. It gets a little longer every year, anyway."
At the close of the 1961 season his friend, quarterback Charlie Conerly had an audition for a job in broadcasting but couldn't make it. Summerall went instead and got the job.
For $325 a game he became an analyst on NFL games for CBS in 1962. Three years later he was assigned to the Washington Redskins to work with play-by- play veteran Jim Gibbons. For three years, Summerall "learned an awful lot from Jim Gibbons, a very nice person. I also got to know Edward Bennett Williams and Sonny Jurgensen and Bill McPeak."
These days he lives peacefully in the town where he was a standout high school athlete, Lake City, Fla., hard by Sawgrass, the Touring Players Golf Course. He plays a lot of tennis with his wife, Katharine, and their three children, Susan, Jay and Kyle. All of them, he says, are very good players.
He plays the game very well too. But he's still thought of as an ex-football player, a top football announcer and a nice guy.
The nice guy part should probably be mentioned first and foremost. Joan Ryan, sports columnist for The Washington Post in 1979, wrote: "Listening to Pat Summerall explain what's happening on the football field is like having Walter Cronkite describe the Iranian conflict on the nightly news. It doesn't change the character of crisis, but somehow it's more comforting from him."
Beano Cook, ABC sportscaster and publicist, once said, "If I ever got cancer, I'd want Pat Summerall to be the one to tell me."