Jerry Romig, the familiar voice of New Orleans sporting events at Tulane Stadium and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for nearly 41/2 decades, will call his final game Friday night when the Saints play the Oakland Raiders.
Romig, who turns 84 in November, has been the public address announcer for the Saints for the past 44 years — taking the microphone in 1969 when the team, in its third year of existence, still played its home games in Tulane Stadium.
He also did Tulane football games, Sugar Bowls, Bayou Classics, BCS National Championship games and four Super Bowls before the NFL hired a full-time announcer to work the league’s signature events.
Romig is best known for his exuberant calls when the Saints make first downs and touchdowns, and, of course, his trademark call, “It-t-t-t’s g-o-o-o-d,” after field goals and extra points.
He never missed a Saints game — working 445 in a row — counting preseason, regular-season and playoff contests.
He even worked the games played in San Antonio and Baton Rouge in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Superdome.
Romig — who’ll be replaced in the PA booth by his son Mark — decided to step away when a bad back, on which he already has had two surgeries this year, continued to give him trouble.
He said he hurt his back leaving the Superdome after the 2011 BCS title game between LSU and Alabama. He said he was walking to his car in the parking garage when he missed a step and fell.
“That was the beginning of a new life for me,” Romig said Tuesday outside the Saints’ training facility in Metairie.
Still, Romig said he wanted to go on. He worked the Saints’ exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night before deciding it was too much.
“It is really a tough situation going anywhere physically,” Romig said. “It’s been hell. My voice is fine, but I can’t physically (do it).
“I had to make a decision, because it’s not easy saying you can’t do it,” he added. “Eventually, I had to say, ‘Be honest with yourself.’ Physically, I can’t do it.”
The Saints issued a news release Tuesday afternoon announcing Romig’s retirement and thanking him for 44 years of service to the organization.
“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,” owner Tom Benson said in the release. “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.”
Mark Romig, the president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., said he’s excited to be following in his dad’s footsteps.
He and his brother, Jay, a longtime Saints employee, grew up listening to their dad’s calls in Tulane Stadium.
Mark Romig said the Saints will honor his father before the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Atlanta Falcons, when the son officially takes the microphone.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment ... there have been some great moments,” Jerry Romig said. “There will probably be tears on Friday. I’m going to miss it, no doubt about it.”
Saints officials will present Jerry Romig — who received the Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis Award from the Saints Hall of Fame Museum in 2009 for his support of the franchise — with a Super Bowl XLIV ring. The house control booth also will be renamed for him.
While he knows he’ll have to develop his own personality, Mark Romig said he’s already received some advice from his mother.
“She told me I have to do it just like my father,” he said with a laugh. “This is a bittersweet thing for the whole family. He knew when it was time, but he believed he served well.”