For a lot of football fans of a certain age. . .an age group that I believe I’m a part of. . .there is no better play-by-play combination in football history than the team of Pat Summerall and John Madden. And while I’d like to think I know quite a bit about the Minnesota Vikings and their history, Joe Buck dropped a bit of knowledge during today’s first game of the afternoon that I had no idea about involving our favorite football team, Pat Summerall, and John Madden.
Because I was unaware of it prior to today, I thought I would pass it along to everyone else as well.
Today, the 25th of November, marks the anniversary of Madden and Summerall sharing a booth together for the first time, and it happened in a game that involved the Minnesota Vikings. The game took place in Tampa Bay on 25 November 1979 between the Vikings and the Buccaneers, and Madden wound up in the booth with Summerall for the game because Summerall’s regular partner, Tom Brookshier, had a family commitment that conflicted with the Vikings/Buccaneers game.
That game saw the Vikings emerge victorious over the Buccaneers by a score of 23-22 because of the Vikings blocking not one, but two extra points. While the play-by-play on the following video is a bit faint, it’s definitely Madden and Summerall calling a touchdown run by Buccaneers’ quarterback Doug Williams to make the score 23-22 and the subsequent blocked extra point that preserved the Minnesota win.
(Yeah, you’ll have to watch it on YouTube, because NFL.)
The Buccaneers would actually go on to the NFC Championship Game that year before losing to the Los Angeles Rams. The Vikings finished the 1979 season with a record of 7-9 and out of the postseason picture.
As it turns out, according to Classic TV Sports, this was two years before CBS paired Madden and Summerall together full-time. Madden spent the first eight games of the 1981 season splitting time with Summerall and another broadcasting legend, Vin Scully, to see who he best “meshed” with in the booth. In the end, the answer was Summerall, and the rest is history.
It’s not a significant anniversary in terms of the numbers or anything like that, but it’s still a little bit of history that, again, I was not personally aware of before it was brought up on today’s broadcast.