Jerry Romig, who for 44 years and 446 games served as public address announcer and "the voice of the Saints," died Wednesday at his home at the age of 86.
The house control booth in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was renamed the Jerry Romig House Control Booth A in his honor, and he also is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Saints Hall of Fame.
"We grew up with Dad and Mom going to the Saints games, and the entire family has lived and breathed Saints for 40-plus years" Romig's son, Mark Romig, said in a 2013 interview, days before Jerry Romig called his final Saints game. Mark succeeded his father as Saints PA announcer.
"If I can do anything to honor Dad's legacy by being at the house controls and even being a quarter of the announcer that he's been, this is just a great honor," Mark said. "We'll do it proud and we'll keep his voice going for as many years as we can.
"I think living up to Dad's excellence is going to be the task."
It was nearly a half-century of excellence that Romig provided the black and gold.
The last game Romig called for the Saints was a victorious one, a 28-20 preseason decision over Oakland on Aug. 16, 2013. He also worked Super Bowls, Sugar Bowls, Bayou Classics and high school games in the Superdome.
But it was his work with the Saints for which Romig best was known in New Orleans, and it was a job he was pleased to have held.
"It's been great," Jerry Romig said in that August 2013 interview. "Being a part of the Saints program in New Orleans means you're a part of something truly big in this city, and that's hard to beat.
"Wherever you go, people say, 'You're with the Saints.' I kind of smile and say, 'Yes, I am. I've been with the Saints for a long time.' It's been a fabulous opportunity for me, for my family. It's been a career, really. I've loved every moment of it."
Saints owner Tom Benson expressed his warm feelings for Romig in a statement released by the team Wednesday night.
"Jerry Romig was part of our team, part of our family," the team's longtime owner said. "One of my favorite days was putting a Super Bowl ring on his finger."
Likewise, Saints fans grew to love Romig, who was in the booth for some of the most memorable moments in franchise history.
He was at Tulane Stadium for Tom Dempsey's then-NFL record, 63-yard field goal in 1970 to beat Detroit. He was in the Superdome for its reopening in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, a Saints victory over the Falcons in which safety Steve Gleason's blocked punt led to a touchdown.
And he was on the Superdome mic on Jan. 24, 2010, when New Orleans beat Minnesota 31-28 in overtime to claim the NFC championship and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
"The first Super Bowl in the Superdome (Jan. 15, 1978, Dallas' 27-10 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XII), that would be the one (game) that I'll remember always, doing the Super Bowl," Romig said. "That's kind of hard to forget.
"And the first time we made the playoffs, things like that. As the team progressed, as the program got better and better, being a part of that and seeing it build, those are momentous occasions in my life and my life with the Saints. Hard to beat."
He had a rich, lifelong association with New Orleans.
As a teenager, Romig reported on high school football games for The Times-Picayune, and also wrote for The New Orleans States.
The Loyola University graduate, who served in the Army, but not overseas, during the Korean conflict, also worked at WDSU-TV in 1955 as a reporter. He became news producer, program director and vice president during 19 years at the television station.
Later, Romig went to work for the archdiocese, set up the Office of Development and became executive vice president of the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which runs the archdiocese's fund-raising programs.
He became the founding president and general manager of WLAE-TV, which the church supported.
Romig is survived by his wife, Janice Romig; two sons, Jerry "Jay" Romig Jr. and Mark Romig, both of New Orleans; three daughters, Anne Tucker, Mary Beth Romig and Ellen Marie Fihlman, all of New Orleans; a sister, Mary Romig of Harahan; 11 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
A Mass will be said Saturday, Dec. 26 at noon at St. Agnes Church, 3310 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, LA. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m.
Burial will be private.
The New Orleans Saints presented longtime announcer Jerry Romig with a Super Bowl ring on Saturday, May 17, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert.