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SmashMouth 08-13-2013 10:36 PM

Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
1 Attachment(s)
son Mark Romig is replacement


Jerry Romig, the longtime public address announcer at the Superdome for Saints games, will retire from his position this week.

Romig will serve as the public address announcer for the Saints' exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders on Friday before stepping down. He has served as PA announcer for every Saints game since 1969. Friday marks his 446th game.

Romig's son, Mark, will replace him in the booth, starting with the Saints' regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 8.
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"It has been such a great honor. I have been honored by the leadership of this community, the Superdome and the Saints organization to be the voice of the Superdome," Jerry said in a statement issued by the team. "I've enjoyed every moment -- there have been some great moments. There will probably be tears on Friday. I'm going to miss it; no doubt about it.

"I'm a fan, and I like to keep that in mind all the time. I've been blessed. Somebody has been watching over me to have kept me in front of that microphone for such a long time."

Romig was in the booth and making his trademark call "First down, Saints!" for the exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs last Friday night

"He's 83 and his health had become an issue," said his son Jay, who has worked alongside Romig in the booth for years as the play-clock operator. "He told me (Saturday), 'Jay, I can't do it. It's too exhausting.'

"He just wasn't comfortable."

Romig did not miss a Saints game in 44 seasons as the public address announcer. He even called "home" games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge during the Hurricane Katrina season. The only time his voice hasn't been heard at a Saints game was for one quarter of one game in the early 1990s when he left early because of the failing health of a relative.

The Saints will present Romig with a Super Bowl XLIV ring during pregame of the regular-season home opener against Atlanta. The house control booth also will be renamed the "Jerry Romig House Control Booth."

"Jerry has been a part of the Saints family since our third season and we couldn't be more grateful for his passion and love for the Saints as our PA announcer," team owner Tom Benson said. "We are thrilled that his son, Mark, will carry on the Romig torch as our fans have an incredible affection for Jerry and his trademark call during games.

"Jerry's voice is embedded in our game experience and we know that fans will enjoy Mark as our new announcer as he carries on his father's legacy."

Romig began his career as a public address announcer when he was hired by Tulane Athletic Director Rix Yard in 1968 to work Green Wave games. He replaced a longtime voice, that of Jack Dolan, who called the first season for the Saints.

A year later former Saints general manager Vic Schwenk hired him to replace malaprop master Buddy Diliberto behind the microphone at Saints games.

Over the years, Romig's resume expanded. His has also been the voice of Super Bowls, Sugar Bowls, Bayou Classics, Tulane games and high school football games.

He began his sports career at the Picayune at the age of 16, covering high school football games for 23 1/2 cents a column inch. His resume went on to include stints at the States newspaper, D.H. Holmes, Lykes Bros., the Catholic archdiocese, and 19 years as a news director and anchor at WDSU-TV.

A New Orleanian through and through, Romig graduated from Holy Cross High School and Loyola University. He and his wife of 57 years, Janice, lost their Lakeview home in the post-Katrina flood. Since the storm, they've rented an apartment in River Ridge.

They have five children: Mark, Jay, Anne, Mary Beth and Ellen. Jay has worked in a variety of capacities for the Saints and is one of the organization's longest-tenured employees.

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SmashMouth 08-13-2013 10:49 PM

Re: Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
Saints' first downs won't be the same anymore without Jerry Romig: Jeff Duncan

The Saints organization owns a stratified tradition. Its history is divided largely between the ownership tenures of John Mecom and Tom Benson. Within those, various epochs exist: the Archie years; the Mora years; the Payton-Brees tenure.

Few figures in the club's 46-year history transcend these various periods.
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Jerry Romig is one of them.

His 44-year tenure with the Saints, which will come to an end this Friday night, spans all but two years of the franchise's existence. The only time his voice hasn't been heard at a Saints game was for one quarter of one game in the early 1990s when he left early because of the failing health of a relative.

From Tulane Stadium to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, from Kilmer to Brees, from Fears to Payton, Romig was there, dutifully calling the games with that unique clipped, nasally voice and his classy, distinctive style.

His hallmark call -- "Firrrsssst downnnn!" Saaaaaaainnntsss!" -- is familiar to multi-generations of New Orleanians. It earned him celebrity status in the city and sponsorship deals in local media. He's one of the few PA announcers anywhere to earn icon status in his local community.

Romig admittedly had slowed down in recent years. Who doesn't at 83? His back and hip bother him. And the speed of calling games was starting to become a challenge. But he remained as enthusiastic and passionate about the games as he did at that first game against the Atlanta Falcons at Tulane Stadium on Aug. 30, 1969.

When Romig started calling Saints games the big chin guy was the logo and a St. Bernard was the mascot. He did not miss a Saints game in 44 seasons as the public address announcer. He even called "home" games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge during the Hurricane Katrina season.

When he started calling games at Tulane Stadium, he operated out of a phone booth-sized room that had no heat or air conditioning. He lit Sterno flames from Scout cans to keep warm during December games.

Romig always deftly skirted the vocal tightrope between professional announcer and enthusiastic cheerleader. He knew just when to stoke the fire for the home team with a well-timed pitch or inflection. When the defense needed a big third-down stop, he would cagily announce the down and distance while the opponent called its play in the huddle. Coincidence? I think not.

Did Romig's gamesmanship contribute to Saints' victories? It's hard to say, but it certainly didn't hurt.

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Halo 08-13-2013 10:58 PM

Re: Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
Glad he's retiring in good health! All the best Jerry!!

skymike 08-14-2013 06:36 AM

Re: Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
My kid asked me one time, "Who is "Fawty?" I'm scrambling, thinking of our
roster, drawing blanks. Then a quarter or so later I hear, "2nd Down, Saints
ball at tha Faw-ty." mystery solved.

I'm gonna miss Jerry Romig's voice and his personal touches. I hope his
son Mark sounds exactly like him, with something distinctive, and continues
the traditions.

saintsfan1976 08-14-2013 07:31 AM

Re: Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
First down! Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnntss.

It'll never be the same.

Rugby Saint II 08-14-2013 12:59 PM

Re: Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
His son looks old enough to retire.

homerj07 08-15-2013 08:54 PM

Re: Longtime New Orleans Saints announcer Jerry Romig retiring
 
Good job. Here here to the man. I don't think I have done much for 40'yrs straight, bedsides staying alive


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