LOS ANGELES - Fox Sports broadcaster, Erin Andrews, became the first female recipient of the Pat Summerall award Thursday.
The award was presented during the Legends for Charity dinner at the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles. Legends for Charity began as a luncheon but has grown into one of the biggest charity dinners held during Super Bowl weekend.
It started in 2005 during Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida, when Pat Summerall was selected as the honoree for the inaugural event. Realizing the impact this giant in the broadcasting industry had on others, with the blessing of both Pat and Cheri Summerall, The Pat Summerall Award was created and a new tradition during the Super Bowl would be set. The award was created to honor a national broadcaster or prominent sports personality who exemplified the characteristics Pat Summerall wanted the award to represent – an individual who has had an outstanding career and who has made a significant impact in their community.
This year, Erin Andrews, received the award.
"I'm blown away and I'm honored and I'm so grateful my family is here tonight. We haven't gotten to spend a lot of time together because of Covid so they were able to come out," she said.
Andrews spoke about being the first female recipient.
"I just wanted to fit in and be respected and when my manager said you're the first female, I said wow. I'm also the first to have to wear heels to this event that's receiving this award so I may take them off on stage but it means everything," said Andrews.
The dinner benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. The hospital treats the toughest childhood cancers and pediatric diseases.
"St. Jude leads the way in how the world understands and defeats childhood cancer. It's a special place because no family will ever receive a bill from St. Jude, not for the cost of treatment, housing or food. It's a very special place. It's events like this, support of the public that allows us to stay true to that foundational promise that no family will ever receive a bill from St. Jude," said Richard Shadyac, the President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research hospital.
Cheri Summerall, Pat Summerall's wife, said Andrews is an ideal recipient for the award.
"To carry on his [Pat] legacy has been such a privilege. This is family so to have our first female honoree to be Erin, I'm just over the top happy. She's the best and of course we're all in it for the kids," said Cheri.
Eric Shanks, the CEO of Fox Sports, is also congratulating Andrews.
"When they told me that Erin was a part of it, having the first woman to get the Pat Summerall award, that in and of itself was amazing for us at Fox Sports and then over the last 8 months, getting to learn more about what St Jude does is just incredible," said Shanks.
Andrews first visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2013, where she met St. Jude patient Zane and they bonded over their shared love for the Florida Gators. Zane began treatment at St. Jude in 2010 after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since their introduction, they have remained friends and connect via video calls like this one from 2021 during a St. Jude fundraising campaign. Zane is now 15 years old and cancer-free.
Past honorees include, James Brown, Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Chris Berman, Cris Collinsworth, The NFL ON FOX, Al Michaels, Archie Manning, Michael Strahan, Joe Buck, John Madden, Rich Eisen, Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher and Jim Kelly. The 2021 dinner raised $900,000 for St. Jude.
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