Today’s Redskins opener is about ushering in a new era, with quarterback Robert Griffin III.
At the same time, they’re phasing out an old era, as their broadcast crew will be without Sam Huff for the opener for the first time since 1974.
The 78-year-old Huff accepted a lesser role on Redskins broadcasts this year, working only the home games and two road games, against division rivals Dallas and New York. Which means when RG3 lines up today against the Saints, Huff won’t be there to talk about him alongside longtime partners Sonny Jurgensen and Larry Michael.
“Everything ends in sports,” he told Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.
To say Huff accepts the decision wouldn’t be accurate.
“I don’t understand it all,” he said. “I have a listening audience that other people don’t have,” Huff said. “They say, ‘We love you and Sonny.’ ”
At the same time, Redskins broadcast decision-makers acknowledged that Huff has slipped over the years, especially during night and road games.
“I listened to all the games last year,” Chuck Sapienza, the executive producer of the Redskins Radio Network said. “Is Sam the same as 20 years ago? No. But in 1 p.m. home games, he was fine. He really was. When he got fatigued, that’s when some mistakes showed up. But at home, he was good.”
For a player such as Huff, a Hall of Fame linebacker, the inevitable fade of his broadcasting career is hard to face. He told Svrluga “I don’t know what the hell happened,” when talking about being removed from six games this year.
It might make for a cleaner broadcast, but it won’t be the same, without a central figure in the team’s history.