NEW ORLEANS -- Friday wasn't just a Saints preseason game it was also the last game for the man who has given his voice to the Saints home games for more than four decades.
“First down, Saints.”
In so many ways, it sounded like every other Saints game fans have heard at home over the last 44 years.
It's hard to explain how important this job is, being a part of the New Orleans Saints,” Jerry Romig, the long-time announcer for Saints. “It's incredible.”
But of course this game was different, special, the last of more than 440 with Romig as the voice. For a lot of fans, the games won't be the same.
“It's like we're losing a part of the family you know,” Travis Resor said.
“That man's voice has been an icon for years,” Gary Pohlmann said.
For Romig, posing for pictures and hugging family members, it was understandably emotional. “I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss it badly.”
Romig treasures the great moments: Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal, Steve Gleason blocking a Falcons’ punt which led to a touchdown and a Saints win in the first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina, plus the huge Superbowl victory, especially after so many years when the Saints were not winners.
When asked if those difficult times, “They were still fun times; they were still great times,” Romig replied.
He said there were never negotiations about his job here. He just got a call several weeks before the first game telling him to pick up his credentials.
“Never mentioned this is what I'm going to pay you, because I never asked,” Romig said. “I guess I have to admit I'd do it for nothing. Don’t tell him.”
For 44 years, his family has known Sundays during football season he had to be at the game.
“Getting married? Make it in the spring,” said his daughter Mary Beth.
“Sundays in October, November, December? Forget it,” Romig said.
Now, the first game of this season his son Mark will take over the mike.
“I'm channeling dad in my head for the last several years,” said Mark, “and I'm getting a lot of advice from a lot of people. ‘You know, you’re going to keep it just like your father, right?’ So there's pressure. There's a lot of pressure right now.”
Jerry Romig’s advice to his son: “Be himself and enjoy it. Enjoy it.”
How did Jerry Romig develop his distinctive style? "It's just me. It's my personality."