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Frank Herzog retires


Chatting at 11:30. Submit questions here.

"Sportscaster Frank Herzog, longtime voice of the Redskins, is retiring this month," Reliable Source reported Tuesday morning. "In a memo to the WTOP staff Monday, Herzog, 65, said he has two grandchildren to spoil and a "wife who has endured, without complaint, 41 years of long seasons, frequent road trips and weird schedules."

Herzog's career has included stops with WTOP, Channel 9 and Channel 7 -- where he replaced Tim Brant when the latter left for ABC -- and Herzog play-by-played the Bullets to their world title. But despite all that, and even though it's been six years since Herzog left the Skins radio booth, he still retires as the "longtime voice of the Redskins." Fans have a different relationship with the radio team in football than in any other sport, because other teams have locally based TV announcers as well. Caps fans love Joe B. and Locker. Wizards fans love Buckhantz and Chenier. Nats fans...well, whatever.

But no Redskins fan will love a national crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and so their emotions should rightly get plastered onto the local radio crew. Which gives me free license to dip back into the archives for more glory days nostalgia. Here, for example, was Norman Chad, writing without snark, in the fall of 1987:

Washington Redskins games have been broadcast by WMAL radio for 25 consecutive years. The last seven of those years, coinciding with the Joe Gibbs era, Frank Herzog, Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen have been together in the broadcasting booth, fitting as comfortably as an old helmet.

You know Sam; he's the guy in the car commercials. You know Sonny; he's the guy who used to be in the car commercials. And you know Frank; he's the guy who ought to be doing car commercials. Of course, Sam and Sonny -- it's ridiculous to call them by their last names or to refer to one without the other -- also are Hall of Fame football players.

On a typical Redskins Sunday, at least one of every four persons listening to radio in the Washington area is listening to WMAL.....

When they click, Herzog and partners are a wonderful complement to the action. They know the Redskins and they know each other so well. Jurgensen's arrival in the booth in 1981 completed the team -- Huff had been there since '75 and Herzog since '79. They have a folksy congeniality that sometimes does lapse into an out-of-control, slap-happy giddiness. To be sure, the group roots for the Redskins, but each of them can be critical (Huff not as much as the others; he too often lambastes officials for perceived bad calls against the Redskins).

Herzog's play-by-play is solid; his signature, "Touchdown, Washington Redskins" call, has a simple, elegant ring to it. He sharply points out game trends and momentum swings. And with his sense of recent Redskins history, Herzog wittily brings a good base of knowledge to broadcasts. "In the fine tradition of right offensive tackle for the Washington Redskins," he said during Week 2, "holding is the call."

And this was Leonard Shapiro, writing before Super Bowl XXVI:

"No matter how special the CBS television broadcasters make this game, many Washingtonians still will turn down the sound and tune in to Frank Herzog, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff on WMAL-630. So what if they're unabashed homers, so what if Jurgy and Huff's good cop/bad cop routine is wearing a little thin, so what if Zog's signature call, "Touchdown, Washington Redskins" is getting just a tad tiresome after all these years (and this year, all those touchdowns).

"Jurgensen will be in that stadium before they even open the door. I know he's ready to roll right now," Herzog said. That was Wednesday. "I'll be sitting there with those two guys Sunday, and I'll feel their vibes. Sam will be surly, tense. I'll look at his eyes. It'll look like he's playing linebacker again. Jurgy will be up, and I'll get caught up in it."

Finally, here was Shapiro, writing in 2004, when the switch was made:

"I'm really disappointed," Herzog said. "It's not the way you expect it to end. You'd like to walk off into the sunset and let it be your decision. But I've got a lot to be thankful for. I've called three Super Bowl championships, 498 consecutive games over 25 years and it was a great run. I'm still a good broadcaster. If I want to find another play-by-play job, I'd like to think someone might want to hire me."...

"Sonny, Sam and Frank are the voice of the Redskins," said Scott McCall of Falls Church, who described himself as a lifelong Redskins fan.

"You're bringing back [Coach Joe] Gibbs, don't take the voice behind it," added Beau Burke of McLean, also a lifelong fan.

[WJKF station manager Alan] Leinwand acknowledged that fans might not be happy with the station's decision, but said: "I think when the season begins and the excitement of football begins again, people are just looking for a good broadcast and that is what they'll find."

Sigh. The above clip is from TV, not radio, but you should watch it anyhow, if only to hear Herzog's voice, and I guess to see Joe Gibbs shirtless. It's really a jarring sight.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 9, 2010; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Next: Juan Dixon on Vasquez's place in history

Comments

Love ya, Frank! You're the best, and good luck in retirement!

Posted by: paperboy76 | March 9, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The skins are moving left to right on your radio dial...

thx for memories!

Posted by: boricuabopper | March 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Larry Michael Sucks. When will he retire?

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 9, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I watch the 'Skins on TV whenever possible, and even after all these years (and regardless of the network hack du jour calling the game), I still hear "Touchdown, Washington Redskins!" in my head when we punch it across. Here's to ya, Frank. You'll never be replaced.

Posted by: ericenderle | March 9, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, a "good broadcast" is not what we've found. Larry Michael is horrible. He does not now, or ever will compare favorably to Frank. That switch should have never been made. I can listen to Sonny and Sam, well, b/c they're Sonny and Sam. But I can't listen to Redskin broadcasts anymore b/c of the torture that is listening to Larry Michael.

Posted by: ywill316 | March 9, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy retirement, Frank! Will miss you on Wtop, and am still missing you on Skins'coverage!

Posted by: Hattrik | March 9, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

RIP George, Enjoy Retirement Larry. Sonny and Sam can see the sun setting too I am sure. We are seeing a change in the way these things go, and asside from Czarniak can we really say it is for the better.

Posted by: alex35332 | March 9, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

That should say enjoy retirement Frank
If someone wants to digitally slap me they can.

Posted by: alex35332 | March 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Frank, you are Sinatra to marblemouth Michael...You are the 'Burgundy Fog' to the 'maroon and black smog' that is Larry 'I can't clear my throat' Michael.

Thanks for the memories Frankie Baby...You are sorely missed

Posted by: kahlua87 | March 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Is there anyone out there who think Larry Michael is a good broadcaster? I sure can't find anyone who thinks that to be the case. Baghdad Larry epitomizes everything that is wrong with the Washington Redskins (note: the last few days of free agency have been encouraging. I'm hopeful, but cautiously so).

Posted by: kingrob76 | March 9, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Redskins broadcasts have become unbearable with Larry Michael.

Posted by: sa11231 | March 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I say "Touchdown! Washington Redskins!" in the Frank Herzog voice almost every time I cross the street during a "do not walk" sing flashing here in NYC! Thanks for the memories (and all the weird looks from other NY'ers) Frank!!!

Now lets discuss signing George Rogers as a FA to compete with Portis!!!!

Posted by: SkinsFanInNYC | March 9, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Where was this game played??? I see the card's logo on the field, but that's an awful lot of snow for arizona~!

Posted by: Scofield | March 9, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The replacement of Frank Herzog has come to epitomize all that has been wrong with the Dan Snyder era. "Touchdown, Washington Redskins" was as classy as it came. These days, when I hear Larry Michael announce a Skins score, I just roll my eyes and cringe.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | March 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I stopped listening once they let Frank go. Worst business decision EVER. Frank, you're a legend!

Posted by: papple | March 9, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I watched the video and noticed something we haven't seen since 1985 - a Washington Redskin's OL creating running lanes.

I wonder how Portis would have fared behind that line?

He would have at least practiced to show some respect for The Hogs.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | March 9, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Frank Herzog should walk off with his head held high, knowing he never tasted the head of Dan $nyder's peepee.

Larry Michael, on the other hand, is Dan $nyder's personal pole cleaner. He gives that tool a spit shine and polish every chance he gets. Larry Michael just flat out sucks, and he is the reason I can't even stand to listen to the broadcasts anymore. Honestly, I'd rather listen to Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. Sadly, Sonny and Sam just don't have enough to drag the broadcast up from pools of fecal ooze that are Larry Michael, sycophant extraordinaire.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | March 9, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Scofield, the cards used to play in st Louis. There were times whenthe astro turf was actually covered in ice.

Posted by: papple | March 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree that Larry Michael simply can not cut it -- even taking out of the equation of how they treated Frank. I was always hoping that the brass would open their eyes and dump Larry and bring back Frank -- I guess that won't happen now, which is really a shame.

On a related note, while Steve Colby is OK -- the Caps will always be Ron Weber to me -- "way to go Ms. Twiddle" and "it's been a two point night!"...Ahh the sports radio memories of childhood.

Posted by: TheOtherGuyInSection117 | March 9, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Papple. I was only 4 at the time, so I had no idea.

Posted by: Scofield | March 9, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Busch Stadium...is the answer

Where was this game played??? I see the card's logo on the field, but that's an awful lot of snow for arizona~!

Posted by: Scofield | March 9, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DCsportfan3433 | March 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"Nats fans...well, whatever."

I think us 12 Nats fans really like Rob Dibble. Carpenter is seen anywhere from fine to terrible, but Dibble has been enthusiastic and entertaining since he took the MASN gig.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Those were the days with Frank, Glenn, and George competing.

Always enjoyed Frank's "professional" play by play.

As others have noted, Larry Michael is a bozo and a tool and suck up for Snyder.

Posted by: mdpilot | March 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

God Bless you Frank, the team has not been the same without you.
I tried to give the new guy a chance but it was like getting my teeth drilled while the nurse scratched the chalk board.As bad as he is on the radio, he is worse on TV.Would someone show him how to tie a tie (Ty) and for the love of god, just a touch less GREASE in the hair!! I have not listened to a game on the radio since the third of his regime.

Posted by: rschotta1 | March 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Frank, Sonny, and Sam calling the game with Ken Beatrice on the postgame show. Great times to be a Skins fan.

Posted by: moseley_brian | March 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

There was only one Shirley Povich, one Glenn Brenner, and one Frank Hertzog. Thanks for the great memories. Best of luck to you and your family.

Posted by: JM256 | March 9, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse


Posted by sa11231: Redskins broadcasts have become unbearable with Larry Michael."

its one of the few blessings that comes with being a Skins fan in exile. Particularly living here in Phoenix, i'll keep the WaPo live feed on the 'puter & with each (rare) TD, i hear Frank's voice in my head.

Posted by: mdrockjock | March 9, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Frank, you'll ALWAYS be the voice of the Redskins. That kiss-ass Larry Michaels can't touch your broadcasts with a ten foot pole. I never listen to the radio broadcast anymore. And that sucks for Sunny and Sam.

Posted by: harbirsingh | March 9, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Nats fans...well, whatever."

Hunh? The Nats have Charlie Slowes and Dave Jaegeler -- the two best radio announcers in all of baseball. Those guys are GREAT! I wish they did the TV broadcasts on MASN too, because both of them are a LOT better than Carpenter (although I DO like Rob Dibble!).

Slowes and Jaegeler are better than anything the Wizards, Caps or Redskins have, at least since the days of Sonny, Sam AND Frank, who as a team clicked very nicely.

I HATE the time delay that now plagues television in these days of exaggerated prudery and the delays associated with satellite/cable transmission and digital conversion. It is SO hard -- almost impossible -- to sync up the radio with the TV now, something that used to be simple and routine when we could watch the 'Skins on channel 9 and listen to Sonny, Sam and Frank on WMAL.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 9, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

There will never be another Frank Herzog. Larry Michael must go!

Posted by: MrWillie | March 9, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

During the late 70's my wife was taking a college course at night. When I would pick her up from class, I would listen to the "Bullets" radio broadcast. Frank was also great as the Bullets play-by-play guy during the Unseld,Hayes, and Dandridge years. Frank had this great call when Elvin Hayes would miss a jump shot. He would say, "Turn around jumper by Hayes, Brickkkkkkkkkkk". Hayes to his credit heard about the call and laughed. Good luck Frank, your calls for the Redskins and Bullets live on in my head. I agree with all the other posters, Larry Michael stinks!

Posted by: JAMNEW | March 9, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Larry Michael is a talentless hack.

Posted by: CDon | March 9, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Happy Retirement and God bless, Frank. Here are a few of my favorite "Frank-isms"...

"Riggins takes the handoff...Good Hole...breaks a tackle at the 40 and HE'S GONE!! The 35...the 30...HE'S GONE HE'S GONE!! TOUCHDOWN WASHINGTON REDSKINS!!!!

or after a BIG hit by a defensive player, "Who was that Masked Man?"

Posted by: DCMixmstr | March 9, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I have yet to read even ONE redeeming thing about the play-by-play job that Larry Michael does. And you won't get anything positive from me here either....

The guys blows, plain and simple. And this isn't just a case of him not measuring up to Frank (which he obviously doesnt). Larry Michael is a pathetic broadcaster and little more than a shill for Snyder. PLEASE dump this clown!!!!

Posted by: chombie13 | March 9, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And we get stuck with Larry Michael and a radio network that can't figure out how to sync up their broadcast with TV. So even if you want to listen to the radio while watching the game, you can forget about it. I remember WJFK would sync it with the game on Cox Cable back when they had it. Another part of the Skins Snyder destroyed.

Enjoy your retirement Frank. I still miss your calls.

Posted by: RyanInFx | March 9, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Don Breaux, rockin' the Members Only jacket!


congrats to Frank on a well-deserved retirementd

Posted by: doogiex | March 9, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If Snyder really has woken up a bit after the nightmare that was the '09 season, he'll replace Larry Michael and Sam with a talented young play-by-play guy to work with Sonny. Sorry Sam, time to relax and watch the games with a nice glass of Scotch. Not sorry Larry, you suck a$$. And can the PA guy at FedEx too.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

A couple things:

1) Frank Herzog is class personified and a great talent. On NFL films I love to hear Frank's play-by-play.

2) Larry Michael is awful - his name sounds like one of those made-up radio names - he's really horrendous even if he wasn't preceded by the great Frank Herzog.

3) Frank, Sonny, & Sam was phenomenal and I used to turn off the tv sound and listen to them.

4) I was very disappointed that Sonny Jurgenson & Sam Huff didn't put their foot down in defense of their friend and colleague. If they told the Skins that if you fire Frank that they quit I'm 100 percent sure the Skins back down.

Frank, we'll miss you from Channel 9, the Skins, WTOP, you were the best

Posted by: nativedc | March 9, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

NativeDC: as much as I would've liked Frank to continue, I think expecting Sonny and Sam to give up their positions over it is a bit much. Herzog is one of those voices that are part of the soundtrack of a lifetime for people who have spent a lot of time around the DC area. Even listening to him on WTOP brought back good memories. Skins should do something for him, though they won't because of how it ended.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 9, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

OH...one more. This is my all time favorite Frank Herzog calls. The Philly 76'ers had a slogan going into the '77-'78 season that said WE OWE YOU ONE (to the Philly fans after they lost to Portland & Bill Walton the previous season). The Bullets played the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals in '78 (Dr. J was there...George McGinnis, Bobby Jones, Darryl Dawkins, World B Free (nee Lloyd)et al. The Bullets beat Philly in Game Six to go to the NBA Finals (THRILLING GAME, BTW). In the pandamonium at the buzzer, Frank screamed into the mic... "THE WASHINGTON BULLETS HAVE BEATEN THE PHILDELPHIA 76'S IN SIX GAMES. AND NOW PHILADELPHIA, THE SIXERS OWE YOU TWO!!!

If that isn't classic Frank Herzog, then I don't know what is.

Posted by: DCMixmstr | March 9, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

true or false

Vinny C. was a better gm than Larry Michael is as broadcaster.

Frank is missed, and I thought he was slumming at WTOP since he was filling in at all times but he has always done a good job. He is a real life professional broadcaster.

Posted by: Pensfans | March 9, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Frank was the voice of my Redskins childhood. Sonny and Sam are like two favorite old uncles (who increasingly have no idea about reality, especially Sam). Larry Michael stinks. I hated that decision to fire Frank. Good luck to you, sir, in your retirement!

Posted by: MrDumberton | March 9, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree that the shot at the Nats broadcasters was pretty low. I think they are both very good.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 9, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Oy! Watched the video. I can't remember ever seeing a coach talking to a reporter with no shirt on. And Joe, can those glasses have been any bigger, they practically cover his entire face!

Posted by: MrDumberton | March 9, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Bye, Frank.

Since we haven't been able to pick up the chronically weak signal from WJFK or any other Red Zebra station, I was unaware that you had retired.

You were great to listen to over all those years!

Posted by: BushH8er | March 9, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I miss listening to you. I refuse to listen to Larry. They lost me as a listener. Enjoy your retierment.

Posted by: noneya11 | March 9, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Did you see the blocking in that video? I'll miss you, Frank.

Posted by: sorry2say | March 9, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

A perfect Sunday in the 80s for me: church, then riding home with my dad, listening to Sonny, Sam, and Frank call the Redskins game during the glory days. Congratulations on your retirement, Frank Herzog. Larry Michael can't hold your microphone

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | March 9, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Frank Herzog was great to listen to on the radio while watching the TV... but he knew damn well that many people weren't. The few times I couldn't be near a TV but could only listen on the radio, he'd be great at describing the action and I never got lost listening to him.

Larry Michael on the other hand sometimes seems to forget that we can't see stuff on the radio. Sometimes he gets it, but other times he'll just come out with something like, "Handoff to Portis. He's got some room. Decent run by Portis." I don't know what the hell's going on.

I learned a lot about formations and the game of football by watching the TV while listening to Herzog... Great stuff. Happy retirement!

Posted by: JohnnyRyde | March 9, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Good Luck Frank.

It just has not been the same since you left. Larry Michael is a Snyder puppet who had no business being on the radio.

Posted by: VaBroker | March 9, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Frank, Sonny, and Sam calling the game with Ken Beatrice on the postgame show. Great times to be a Skins fan.

Posted by: moseley_brian | March 9, 2010 10:47 AM

-------------------------

Amen. However, I do think everyone is being way too hard on Larry Michael. He isn't Frank Herzog but he also isn't the worst broadcaster in the history of radio either as many of you seem to think. He had a very good broadcasting resume before he ever did anything with the Redskins.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 9, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

...will miss you Mr. Herzog. As a boy i would always turn down the tv volume just so i could here you do the game and watch the game at the same time. That stopped once you were gone. You will always be the voice of the Washington Redskins

Posted by: pathmo | March 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Good luck in all your future endeavors. I still miss having you in the broadcast booth with Sonny and Sam. I have not listened to a game on the radio since you left. You will always be missed as long as there are fans who remember the glory days of the Redskins. Enjoy retirement!

Posted by: jmiller15 | March 9, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"Have to agree that the shot at the Nats broadcasters was pretty low. I think they are both very good.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 9, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse"

I read that as a shot at Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble which was fair.

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | March 9, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

here is how clueless LM is, before this past season in August of 2009 his prediction for the Redskins was 12 - 4, and a 5 - 1 record in the NFC East.

What a waste that he has been on the air these past years.

Frank, congratulations, you have earned it with class and style.

Posted by: terpfan4141 | March 9, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

And there goes yet another link to the days when Washington had good football and basketball teams. Frank's definitely earned the right to a happy retirement, though. He's sorely missed on Redskins radio broadcasts. Count me as another fan who tuned out when Larry Michael took over.

Posted by: acoberst1 | March 9, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

im too young to have heard him when he was calling games for the skins, but i went to his house and interviewed a few years ago for my broadcast journalism class and he was one of the nicest people ive ever met. he invited me into his house, showed me around, and just sat there talking to me for hours. he had countless number of stories from the "glory days" that i didnt live through, but ill always appreciate the time he took to talk to an aspiring journalist.

Posted by: aubartolomei | March 9, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg: good job posting this about Frank's retirement. I'm surprised that the Post didn't do more than a mere mention. I mean, this guy was a big part of DC sports for a lot of years....................

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 10, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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