Thank you, Jim
Jim Henderson announces retirement as "Voice of the Saints"
"Get ready to party with the Lombardi, New Orleans! The miracle in Miami has happened! The Saints have won the Super Bowl!"
It was the call of a lifetime, words a city and fan base had waited 40 years to hear.
But there were more seared into the memories of one of the most loyal fan bases in sports.
There was the call of the play that sealed the Saints' first Super Bowl victory in their first and only trip to the NFL's championship game.
"Manning in the shotgun, puts Collie in motion. Looks in his direction…it's picked off! It's picked off! It's Tracy Porter again! He's runnin' free! He's gonna go all the way! Hand outstretched…and it's a Saint touchdown! Seventy yards on the return! Seventy yards on the return by Porter! He did it to Favre, and now he's done it to Manning!"
There was the call that got the Saints to the biggest game in franchise history.
"Snap, placement, kick by Hartley, and it is — AND IT'S GOOD! IT'S GOOD! IT'S GUH-HUH-HOOD! Ha ha ha! Pigs have flown! Hell has frozen over! The Saints are on their way to the Super Bowl! Confetti fills the air, Saints fans on their feet, everybody in Black and Gold havin' the time of their lives, in the city that will not sleep tonight! All one Saints fans, worldwide! All one!"
And of course, the play that got the Saints their first postseason victory after 34 years in existence.
"Gowin, on 4th and 14 will punt it away. He hangs it very high, angling it for near sideline… Hakim drops the ball! Hakim drops the ball! Brian Milnemight have fallen on it at the ten yard line! It IS the New Orleans Saints' football! Brian Milne, the most unlikely hero of them all, falls on the fumble, the muff by Hakim! There is a god after all!"
Jim Henderson, who announced his retirement as "voice of the Saints," was behind the microphone for the most important moments in franchise history.
The former English teacher from Rochester, New York, became part of the fabric of New Orleans when he took over the chair from famed sportscaster Hap Glaudi at the WWL-TV sports desk on May 8, 1978.
Henderson deftly walked the fine line of being the Saints' ambassador as the radio voice on Sunday afternoons and as a critic of the team away from the broadcast booth. His Monday commentary on the Saints became can't miss TV. Then he expanded coverage of the city's favorite team when he helped launch 4th Down on 4, a 30-minute program dedicated to sports after WWL's Sunday broadcast at 10 p.m.
From 1986 to 1997, he paired with former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, creating one of the greatest broadcast duos of all time. When Manning left the booth to free time to watch his sons play college football, LSU and Saints legend Hokie Gajan joined Henderson through 2016. Their calls were warm and familial. Henderson was paired with another Rebel Saint, Deuce McAllister, the past two years.
Henderson is ever the professional and gentleman. However, at 70, the demands and travel required to broadcast professional football games weighs heavy. He is among the titans of media who have covered the team, including Glaudi, Peter Finney, Buddy Diliberto, Jerry and Mark Romig, and Bobby Hebert. He is a 13-time winner of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Sportscaster of the Year Award.
The Saints haven't said who will replace Henderson as the team's play-by-play announcer. That will come in time. For now, it is Henderson's time to shine in the limelight. He deserves all of the laurels and accolades sent his way. He is a model broadcaster and one of the best in his business. His absence will put a hole in the heart of the Who Dat Nation, but he will always be fondly remembered for giving us a soundtrack to some of the happiest moments in our lives. For that, we will be forever grateful.
Thank you, Jim Henderson, and best of luck in your future endeavors.