Long-time Colts play-by-play man Bob Lamey retires
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – We were sitting in his trusty golf cart, watching another practice – probably our zillionth together – and talking all things Colts.
It was a few days ago at Grand Park in Westfield, and when we weren’t discussing the impressive progress made by Andrew Luck during training camp or our concerns over Matt Eberflus’ defense or reminiscing about some snapshot moment from years ago, I asked Bob Lamey a simple question.
How much longer are you going to do this?
“I’m taking it one year at a time, one day at a time,’’ Lamey said, a smile creasing his white-bearded face.
The end came suddenly. Sunday, Lamey, 79 and the “Voice of the Colts’’ for more than three decades, announced his retirement. He was at the final camp practice Saturday afternoon – sitting in his golf cart, marking off who was practicing, who wasn’t – then apparently decided enough was enough.
I contacted Bob the moment I heard the news. He and I belong in the next Jurassic Park sequel. We’re dinosaurs in a Brave New World. Our ties with the Colts stretch back to 1984, when Robert Irsay relocated his team from Baltimore to Fall Creek Elementary School.
Bob declined my request for an immediate comment, but shared his thoughts on Colts.com.
“I have had a great deal of fun for 35 years, and it’s time,’’ he said. “Great things and great people. I cannot thank Colts fans enough for their support through the years.
“I also owe the world to the Irsay family, particularly Jimmy. I’ve never worked for a better person or a ‘got-your-back’ boss like him. I will always bleed blue.’’
Lamey was the Colts’ radio play-by-play voice for 31 seasons. There are memorable moments, but all line up behind his reaction to the Colts rallying to beat the New England Patriots 38-34 in the 2006 AFC Championship game in the RCA Dome.
Throws over the middle . . . intercepted! Marlin Jackson! Marlin’s got it! We’re going to the Super Bowl! We’re going to the Super Bowl!
OK, there’s another from the same game.
He fumbled the freakin’ football as he goes down . . . they say the Colts got it! The Colts got it! Oh, doctor, that is a big break there!
Reggie Wayne has been part of the Colts’ environment since the team selected him in the first round of the 2001 draft. He retired after the 2014 season and currently is serving as a volunteer coach with the receivers.
His appreciation of Lamey runs deep.
“He’s the best . . . and I mean the absolute best,’’ Wayne told FOX59 in a text. “True definition of a Colt . . . He always stood tall for the Colts organization.
“It never got tired of hearing him scream ‘TOUCHDOWN COLTS!!!’ Gonna be greatly missed. All I know is . . . Somebody has some HUGE shoes to fill.’’
Matt Taylor, the Colts’ manager of radio productions, will handle play-by-play duties on an interim basis, starting with Monday night’s game with the Baltimore Ravens.
Owner Jim Irsay described Lamey as a “legend and icon, and his name is synonymous with Indianapolis Colts football. With his historic calls, familiar sayings and passion for football, he became part of the fabric of this entire community.
“No one has been more ‘Indianapolis’ than Bob Lamey.’’
Lamey’s resume includes play-by-play duties with the Indianapolis Racers (1974-77) – remember Hockey Bob? – and the Indiana Pacers (1977-1984). While working at WIBC, he played a role in Mark Boyle settling in as the voice of the Pacers.
Boyle, 57, is heading into his 31st season with the Pacers. There might be no better person to offer perspective to Lamey’s long run, and retirement.
“It just reminds you that these jobs, especially if you’ve been in them long enough, sometimes if you’re not careful they seem to be permanent,’’ Boyle said. “And when a guy like Bob decides to hang ‘em up, it reminds you that nothing is permanent and your time is coming, whether it’s tomorrow, next week or next year.
“Bob’s been able to do it for so long at the highest level. This is the highest level there is. There’s only 32 of these jobs (in the NFL). He’s had it for a long, long time. For those of us who know how fickle this business is and how hard it is to get these jobs and then to keep them once you have them, it’s really impressive when you see what he’s been able to do.’’
Former Colts punter Pat McAfee was quick to praise Lamey on his Twitter account.
“Bob Lamey is the best . . . there’s no other way to describe him,’’ McAfee tweeted. “A full encyclopedia of information at all times. Love the @Colts and Indianapolis like no other human I’ve ever met. We’ll all miss your work, but cheers to your retirement boss. I’m lucky to call you a friend.’’
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Enjoy retirement, Bob. But now I’ve got to find someone else to help me take roll at practice.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.