By now you’ve heard the sad news. On Tuesday legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall passed away at the age of 82. Tributes began pouring in as the news spread via social media. Youtube clips of great Summerall calls were posted. Viking fans certainly had many Summerall moments to recall. CBS was the home of the NFC for years and Summerall was the #1 play-by-play man, partnered with John Madden. Then that team moved to Fox. Those guys called tons of huge games and the Vikes were involved in many of those games. None bigger than the ’98 title game.
Of course there is one moment from the ’98 title game that every Viking fan of a certain age has burned into their brains. Gary Anderson wide left. There is no need to set up the moment. Anderson had a very makeable field goal to put the Vikings up by 10 late and bury the Falcons. He had one kick to almost certainly send the Vikings to the Super Bowl. And he missed. It was the first kick he missed all season. The Falcons went on to tie the game in regulation and ultimately win in overtime and fans have never gotten over it.
Like I said, Summerall was on the call that day. Right before Anderson kicked he said something that Viking fans probably wish he had never uttered. Summerall said, “Anderson hasn’t missed in two years.” Looking back at the clip, you can’t help but cringe. You want to scream at your TV, “No Summerall! Noo!!!” Like talking about a no-hitter during a no-hitter. Pat Summerall put the jinx on Gary Anderson and the Vikings.
But Summerall didn’t do it alone. John Madden said right after Summerall, “That’s a pretty good bet, if you say you think Gary Anderson will make this field goal the answer is probably yes.” Madden was still getting that sentence out while the ball was in the air. And we know what happened. So they both jinxed Anderson. You could argue they were just doing their jobs by pointing out Anderson’s accuracy but I’m not sure that will make bitter fans feel any better.
So today while the rest of the world is honoring Pat Summerall, take a second to remember the time he sort of screwed over the Vikings. He didn’t have money on Atlanta did he? Just kidding. He wasn’t Al Michaels for gosh sakes.