EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: Voice of the Washington Redskins; Leland’s Frank Herzog


LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Frank Herzog is a familiar name to fans of the Washington Redskins. He called radio play-by-play at three Super Bowls. The Redskins won two of three.

“There’s the snap. Handoff to Riggins. Good hole, has the first down, the 40, he’s gone, the 35, the 35, the 30, the 20. He’s gone!  Touchdown Washington Redskins!  Ooh who!”  That’s the most famous play-by-play call by Frank Herzog. “You never know what you’re going to say in an instance like that,” Herzog told WWAY.  “I thought Riggins was going to bust over left guard and get two yards and a first down. I had no idea he was going to go the distance and get a touchdown.”

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Prior to his tenure with the Washington Redskins, Frank Herzog, who is now a Leland resident, was the voice of the NBA Washington Bullets. He was fairly new to play by play “and the next thing I know I’m doing the Bullets and an NBA championship.”

Moving onto an NFL radio position was next. Frank Herzog became the voice of the Washington Redskins in 1979. “All of a sudden Joe Gibbs gets hired and the Redskins celebrate the greatest decade of their history and I was there to call it all !”
Herzog called Washington Redskin games for 25 years. There’s no doubt this extraordinary man can talk. He’s done everything in broadcasting, except for weather. “In my mind broadcasting in it’s purest form is play by play. You walk into an arena, into an arena and it’s a blank canvas and you paint the picture.”

While in Washington Herzog worked with two commentators in the Redskins broadcast booth: Sam Huff and Wilmington native Sonny Jurgensen. “You have a hall of fame linebacker on one side and a hall of fame quarterback on the other and you get to watch the game with them. It was a gold mine. I learned more about football and being a man from those two than anywhere else. When I first started doing the football games the radio people did not want us to admit tv existed or there were replays, but when Sonny came into the booth along with him came a tv set supplied by the network and the station said we have something here. So let’s promote the fact that if you’re a Washington Redskins fan you should turn down the sound on your tv and turn up the sound up the sound on your radio and it caught on, it caught on like gangbusters.”

Frank Herzog and his wife Sharon moved to Leland around 4 years ago. ” I always thought he was talking to them when he did a game,” Sharon Herzog said recently. “People who were not into sports could listen to the game and know immediately what was going on.”

In a way, you can say Frank Herzog bleeds burgundy and gold.  He’s convinced moving to the Wilmington area was the right thing to do and we should all feel fortunate this extraordinary and accomplished broadcaster chose the Cape Fear region to be his home.

Frank Herzog will be inducted into the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame this weekend. His induction class includes Dexter Manley, Christine Brennan and Patrick Ewing.