In the last week or so, the United States has been buffeted with tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosion in Texas. During this time, there were two other items of sad new which seemed to go close to unnoticed. Last week, both Pat Summerall and Allen Neuharth passed away and I wanted to share some of my reflections on the late pioneers.
Both Summerall and Neuharth were giants in their respective industries, Summerall as a broadcaster and Neuharth as a newspaper mogul. As an aspiring journalist, I was saddened by their departure and thought a bit about what they did for me.
Through much of my childhood I heard Pat's voice every Fall Sunday as a member of the broadcasting dream team with John Madden. Summerall seemed to be the leveling force in the booth, paired with the bombastic Madden. So what does this have to do with me? Outside of Jerry Allen letting me know that Kenny Wheaton was gonna score, Pat Summerall was the first person who made me think that being a sports broadcaster was a possibility as a career for me. His voice and delivery was unprecedented and in his passing, the industry lost a giant
As for Allen Neuharth, he is the epitome of a visionary. When the USA Today burst on the scene, few thought that a national newspaper was feasible. Despite that, Allen pushed forward and even during the decline of print news as a medium, the USA Today still circulates around the country. Again, the USA Today spills into my childhood memories. As a child, I rarely got my hands on a USA Today but every Sunday I would see the headlines, and look on at the pictures and what had been created.
So really, these two men really only directly touched my life on Sundays but their vision and abilities made it possible for someone like me to follow my goals and dreams. I did not want their passing to go unnoticed because the two men and what they created has given me the ability to do so much.