It was late in the game and the New York Giants were trailing the Philadelphia Eagles, 40-0.

Pat Summerall cut across the middle and caught a pass. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw an Eagle defender with an elbow cocked looking for a head to smash.

"I duck my head, but it's too late," Summerall recalled. "This guy gives me such a shot that it cracks my helmet. Then he looks down at me sprawled on the field and says, 'You shouldn't be catching anything. You shouldn't even be playing football."

That was Pat Summerall's introduction to Tom Brookshier. The two are now virtually inseparable.

Each Sunday of the season Brookshier and Summerall do CBS's top National Football League game and in their quiet, low-keyed manner, have emerged as perhaps the top sports broadcasting team in the business.

Summerall also covers tennis and golf and hosts the CBS "Sports Spectacular." Brookshier handles much of CBS's boxing coverage and odds and ends on "Sports Spectacular" in addition to being the regular sports broadcaster for WCAU, a CBS-owned station in philadelphia.

Broadcasting other sports individually, both are competent but not outstanding. Put the game they love - football - in front of them and, as singer Carly Simon says, "Nobody does it better."

What separates the Summerall-Brookshier tandem from the rest is that they don't adhere to the strict play-by-play and color format the other sportscasters use.

Summerall and Brookshier usually simply sit and talk about the game. When play-by-play man Sumemrall wants to analyze, he analyzes. When analyst Brookshier wants to do play-by-play, he does play-by-play.

They pull it off week after week without a hitch, as if they had been broadcasting together all their lives.

They actually first started working together eight years ago on NFL films, a weekly one-hour show of highlights. That was five years before they did a live game together.

"Then, three years ago," said Summerall, "I was working as an analyst when Bob Wussler took over as head of CBS Sports and asked me if I wanted to do play-by-play. I said sure. He asked me who I wanted to work with and I said Brookshier. We were both analysts and it was strange to put us together, but here we are."

Brookshier got his start in broadcasting.

Before he began working with Summerall, Br ended his playing career in 1961.

"I got off the bedpan and did some horrible stuff," he said.

Summerall also retired at the end of the 1961 season and went right into broadcasting.

Before he bagan working with Summerall, Brookshier was ready to hang and Brookshier is their straight forward approach. As well as each knows the game, neither showers the audihis mike on the hook next to his cl*eats.

"I was just tired and ready to move on," he said. "Then Pat came along."

"There's never been an ego problem with us," Brookshier added."Pat is the man, though. He's numero uno. He sets everything up. He's the master when it comes to saying things. He can say three words and they are always the right three words. The man on Monday night uses 10,000 words and says nothing," Brookshier said, avoiding naming Howard Cosell. "But the guy (Cosell) did give us all a big break. He opened it up so we could say a lot more," or 'tell it like it is', as he puts it."

A key to the success of Summerall ence with jargon only an ex-NFL player could understand.

It wasn't always that way with Brookshier.

"When I was first through playing and went into television, I was broadcasting for coaches and players and there aren't many of them out here watching," he said.

"Now I see the whole family, the old man with a beer, the kid home from college, the wife. They all want to know what's going on."

Another reason for their success is that as much as Brookshier and Summerall love the game, it is still a game to them and they present it to the viewer that way.

"When it's over, that's it," said Brookshier. "There are a lot of things in life more important."

When it comes down to plain old broadcasting skills, however, why did these particular two make it to the top?

"Skill?" inquired Brookshier. "It's all luck. you've just got to come along at the right time with the right people. It's a lot like making a team."

Said Summerall: "I didn't take any speech classes and I flunked English, so that sure isn't the secret."