Pat Summerall: How a Man of Such Few Words Left a Lasting Impact


Athlete, Sportscaster, Humanitarian and Ambassador are just a few of the many words used to describe Pat Summerall after his death on April 16, 2013.  Best known for his 20+ years broadcasting the NFL with John Madden, Pat Summerall could describe an epic sports moment in just a handful of words.  For example, one of his most famous calls, “Montana…Rice…Touchdown” paints a perfect picture of the game in just three words.  At no time did the brevity of his comments diminish their meaning.  I grew up watching and listening to Pat Summerall broadcast football games.  He will forever in my mind be known as the voice of football.

So often announcers are more concerned about their Shtick then the game they were broadcasting.  Pat Summerall was different.  This morning on ESPN radio, I heard a quote from John Madden stating that Pat Summerall would walk into every broadcast booth empty handed, no notes, no preset lines, no talking points, he would simply let the game unfold and tell the story as it was, not as he wanted it to be.  Every word in every broadcast was meaningful, there was no minutia.  What you heard from Pat Summerall were the facts of the game with no added distractions.

It is funny how these comparisons work, but as I look at Pat Summerall’s broadcasting style and the meaning and impact it left, it truly reminds me of how we at Altman & Associates view estate planning.  We believe in working closely with our clients.  The story that is told in their estate planning documents is representative only of the facts that they provide, rather than the addition of any ancillary facts or minutia.  Often, we have clients present to us previous estate plans that display voluminous trusts and wills sometimes eclipsing 90 or 100 pages.  Do they understand the picture painted in these documents?  The answer often times is no.  Our goal is to effectuate the wishes of our clients in a clear succinct manner often times producing wills and trusts that range from 18-25 pages.  Just like Pat Summerall, we aim to provide a clear understanding of the plan to our clients with no added distractions.

Since his retirement, Pat Summerall’s voice and broadcasting style have been missed.  However, his lasting impact will continue both in broadcasting and outside in the business world.  The lessons learned from his style of communication can be utilized by many.  Clear succinct communication is a lost art.  Whether directly or indirectly, the legacy of clear succinct communication left behind by Pat Summerall will live on through the manner in which we prepare our estate planning materials here at Altman & Associates.

Thank you, Pat Summerall, for showing us the power of clear communication without the need for glitz, glamour, or minutia.

–  Adam Abramowitz, Esq.  

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