The Miami Dolphins offense looked good on the field Friday night and Chad Henne looked like a pro quarterback. The fans chanted “Reggie-Reggie” and Chad Henne wasn’t booed. It was a good night. Upstairs in the corner of the stadium however, the mood was a bit more somber. It was the first time that Jimmy Cefalo and Joe Rose walked into the radio booth after losing long time Phins announcer Jim Mandich to cancer this past off-season.
Mandich was the long time voice of the Miami Dolphins. His “AllllRight Miami!” cry resounded through a community that embraced him as much as he embraced it. Mandich’s battle with cancer was widely publicized while his privacy maintained as his battle raged on. Friday night marked the first post-Mandich era for Rose and Cefalo and Miami fans who have clung to the trio of voices calling the games over the radio airwaves.
Local news reported that Cefalo paused as he entered the booth aware of the reality for the first time that his long time friend would not be joining him to open the first home game of the season. Cefalo led a fitting tribute to the Miami Dolphins legend at Sun-Life Stadium on May 4th. You can watch that tribute video here. On the wall in that broadcast booth is a plaque baring the name Jim Mandich. A permanent reminder of his lifelong representation as a Miami Dolphin. Later this year he will have his name added below the booth on the stadium’s “Ring of Honor”.
As the Dolphins said good-bye to one legend, they welcomed another. Joining Cefalo and Rose going forward will be Hall of Fame QB Bob Griese. Griese, a long time college football broadcaster will turn his attention to the team he led to two consecutive Super Bowl wins and one undefeated season (with help from Earl Morrall). Griese is no slouch in the booth but it’s likely that Griese will not add the same emotional flair to his broadcast. Time will tell.
So yes, Friday nights game was great even if it was a pre-season game. Perhaps Henne got a little divine intervention from his fellow “Meeechigan” alumnus who has moved a little further upstairs.