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April 26, 2011

R.I.P., Jim Mandich (1948-2011). You want an epitaph? Nobody loved the Dolphins more

1aa1jm2 1aa1jm1 JIM MANDICH PASSES AWAY AT 62: I was sad to hear the news last night. I am sure many of you were, too. Thoughts and sympathy to his wife, three sons and extended family. Mandich, "Mad Dog," was a major, meaningful figure in South Florida sports for decades, from the moment he was a second-round Dolphins draft pick in 1970, a tight end out of his beloved "Mee-chigan," arriving with long hair and hippie beads around his neck. He succumbed to cancer. I hate the phrase "lost a battle" to cancer. Mandich never lost much of anything he had a fair shot to win, from his days as a Michigan captain and Perfect Season Dolphin to his successful career in the construction business to his years as a beloved fixture on WQAM-560 to his seasons broadcasting Dolphins games. He was an unabashed homer, but somehow gave the phrase a good name. He was a plain-spoken evangelist for the Dolphins, exalting and aching with the team's fortunes. I loved that open passion. If you grew up down here (as I did) and you play word-association with "Miami Dolphins," you think "Shula and Marino" first. Rightfully. Right after that though, you better include Mandich. Truthfully, Jim and I were acquaintances more than close friends. That's my regret now; that's on me. I think I might have turned down an invitation to speak at his Miami Touchdown Club luncheon one too many times. Those luncheons, by the way, quietly raised money for former Dolphins in financial need. Jim always had my respect, mostly for what he did after football. He had a great, distinctive on-air persona, sharp, blunt yet folksy, familiar yet fresh, his humor wry, all delivered with a particular, unmistakably riveting cadence. He was a guy you'd like to sit down and have a "green lizard" with. More important, he 1aa1jm3 1aa1jm4 was a guy with a generous heart, genuine, a man of integrity -- always. 

You want an epitaph for Mandich? Here is my simple suggestion, and I can say I really believe it:


Farewell, Jim. You mattered around here. A lot. You will be missed. And your catch-phrase echoes on: "Awwwriiight, Miiii-aaammmiii!"




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He will be missed, any true dolphin, and he was one will be missed, rip Jim Mandich

God Bless and comfort his family, and THANKS Jim!!!

Mr. Mandich was a true champion, he will always be remembered by all of us.

our prayers go out to his family, may god be with them in this very difficult time, RIP mad dog.

RIP Mad Dog.

RIP Jim Maddog Mandich. You were a true man's man. A warrior, yet compassionate. You'll be greatly missed.

Man sure am gonna miss his voice on the broadcasts.. Rip jimmy

After Marino, Shula and Joe Robbie there is probably no other Dolphin that resonates as much as Mad Dog Jim Mandich to those of us Dolfans born in the 80s. What a loss for the franchise....

Very, very sad. He was such a hero over the last year. What courage and grace! The man remains undefeated.

RIP Mad Dog. I will forever associate a Dolphins' big play with the unforgettable phrase "ALLLLLLLRIGHT MIAMI!!"

Growing up in South Florida, I cannot disentangle the Miami Dolphins and Jim Mandich.


Mandich was one of a kind. Loved the team, saw the highs and lows of the franchise, and always could say something to make you laugh..even if the team was suffering a meltdown to the Jets or a going through a frustrating loss. Watch over us on draft day Jim! No more Ginns, Fletchers, Pat Whites, John Becks, etc. Go Dolphins! It's a shame he won't be able to savor a Dolphin super bowl in the booth. He's got his spot in Perfectville, though.

Gosh, this one really hurts. I feel today like a member of my own family has passed. Man I respected the Mad Dog. A true professional. And he also was just a good guy. Like Cote said, he'd be at the very top of my list of people I'd love to sit back and share a few green lizards with. Mad Dog, I for one will miss you greatly, but your memory will always bring a smile to my face. Thank you for bringing some fun, laughter and joy to my life. Rest in peace and God Bless.

Will miss the voice of the Do;phins!! RIP

My condolences to the Wolverine, Dolphin AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Mandich family. Mad Dog meant so much to South Florida for so long. Listening to him on Dolphin broadcast and on QAM was such a pleasure. It was so great to hear him talk about the things he loved the most, MEEEchigan, the 'Phins, and his wife and his sons (he loved his wife and loved and was very proud of his sons). RIP Jimbo, you will be missed.

P.S.- Sports radio in South Florida has lost two giants in less than 6 months, Uncle Neil and Mad Dog. Hang in there Humper, you and Joe Rose are the last of a dwindling breed.

Very sad to learn about the passing of Jim Mandich. He was one of the 47 special undefeated players who managed to transcended his play and go on contributing to the community he loved and that loved him. Thanks, Jim.

what awful news. first, neil, now jim..
his insight was priceless. his voice was a comfort to hear every time i was visiting home. he will be terribly missed. R.I.P. jim.

I haven't cried in a long time...until today.

RIP Mad Dog...you were one of my favorite players for the Dolphins, and you became my favorite announcer!


There's one more bright star in the sky tonight...looking down on us!

Listening to the Dolphin games will NEVER be the same....Condolences to his family...He was a tell-it-like-it-is guy and upfront with his feelings every game....I know God saved a good spot in heaven for "Mad Dog" and will always have a great seat to the Dolly games....but we will miss his voice and thoughts...RIP number 88........we won't ever forget you.

WOW........ his absence will be felt for years to come. We will miss you Mad Dog. May the Lord bless you and your family. You are one of those rare individuals that make our community better. You made a positive difference in many lives. Bless you.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww Riiiiiiiiiiight!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wow. I have the actual photo I personally cut out of the Miami Herald of Mandich featured on the front page. RIP Jim Mandich and thanks for the memories

Mad Dog was the most knowledgeable and insightful sports broadcaster ever to grace the airwaves of South Florida. I will miss his witty humor and his perspective on many subjects. RIP 88.

We love you Jim-Prayers sent to Bonnie and the his three son's.

You'll be in our hearts forever Mad Dog!


i wasn't around to hear rick weaver and hank barrow so i cannot comment on their product; the only twosome that i ever enjoyed as much as bill zimfer and maddog were bill king and rich maratta when they did the raiders when the team was in LA. one of maddog's tremendous attributes was that you would never have known he was a former player- he just did the color without resorting to "when i was playing...". his unflinching love/loyalty for/to bo and don shula were evident and his loyalty to the people he kept going in the media via his sponsoring the weekend morning fishing and sunday morning sports page indicate that this man was a provider.



Jimbo, this ones for you.

A young Chinese couple, both of whom are waiters, get married. She's a virgin & truth be told, he is a virgin too, but she doesn't know that.

On their wedding night, she cowers naked under the sheets, as her husband undresses in the darkness.

He climbs into bed next to her and tries to be reassuring.

"My darring," he whispers, "I know dis you firss time and you berry flighten. I pomise you, I give you anyting you want, I do anyting juss anyting you want. You juss ask. Whatchu want?" he says, trying to sound experienced and worldly, which he hopes will impress her.

A thoughtful silence follows, and he waits patiently and eagerly for her request.

She shyly whispers back, "I want to try someting I have heard about from other girls ... Nummaa 69".

More thoughtful silence, but this time from him. Eventually, in a puzzled tone he asks her...

"You want ... Garlic Chicken with corrifrowa?"

My thoughts and prayers go out to Bonnie, their three sons and all of Jim's family.

May the comfort of friends and family be your strength now and in the days ahead.

Wishing you God's peace.

I have been a lifelong Dolphins fan, even though I've never lived south of Pittsburgh. So, I never got to hear the local broadcasts of Dolphins games until a few years ago, when I heard them on the Internet. And one of the first things I heard was Mandich's "ALL RIIIIIIIGHT!" I loved it!

Mandich was the kind of announcer that every local broadcast should have. Who needs objectivity when you know who your listeners are rooting for? And how much better is it as a listener to know the announcers are right there rooting along with you?

I don't want Mandich to rest in peace. I want there to be a football season, so somewhere up there, Mad Dog can be shouting in peace: "ALL RIIIIIIIGHT MIAMI!"

allllright miami.love you gym..rip.

May the Lord console his family and many friends.

Great write up by Cote, "unabashed homer but somehow gave the phrase a good name" - that about sums it up for me. It's rare nowadays to have local announcers that are truly tapped in to the mindset of the fanbase, Mandich was exactly that.

Shadow, sometimes they superimpose Rick Weaver's play-by-play on the NFL highlight films. He had a good voice for radio, he was very energetic, and he was very descriptive. You could clearly imagine how the Phins lined up for each play and what transpired. In those days, there were a lot of home game blackouts.

Did you watch the Phins vs Colts playoff game..the one you always mention with Dick Anderson's 85 yd TD return? I thought that was blackedout...but I may be mistaken. I know I was in the car coming home from shopping with my parents, when we heard it on the radio. And we would've been watching the game on Sears TV. ..but we didn't. So I don't think it was on live in Miami. So how did you see it?

Later, they got Rick Weaver (who knew nothing about soccer) to call the Strikers games. ..and he was excellent. He applied his same Phins calling techniques and they worked. He creates a clear picture..you can visualize where the players are. "He spins around; shoots!, he scores! Oh what a goal by David Irving." As the play gets in real close, his talking pace wold quicken with excitement.

Greg Cote just put out an article throwing his support behind the Dolphins picking Mallet. Nothing particularly convincing in there.

I don't know about Mallet, or any of the other quarterbacks on his tier, but if the Dolphins draft team likes a quarterback who's available at #15 their selection should be an easy one.

Best case scenario is still to trade back, but they'd have to find another team who's in love with a player who falls all the way to #15. If the Pats call to inquire about the pick they should just draft whoever they think the Pats want.

I still think there is hope in Henne, as I do Jacory Harris. :)

Shadow, here is the day Rick Weaver died in 2000


Interesting comparisons: he had colon cancer. He was from Ohio St (Mandich from my Michigan)

"Weaver, who was born in Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio State, was a 10-time recipient of the Florida Sportscaster of the Year award."


I grew up listening to Weaver..THE MAN WAS AWESOME !!!....Like you said , back in the day there were ALOT of blackouts....But the way he would talk on the radio ITS LIKE YOU WERE IN THE STADIUM.......GREATEST play by play guy EVER !! .... Now he gets company in the booth "upstairs" with one of the best analyst!!

For those of you who never had a chance to listen to Weaver....pull up an old dolphin game and listen for 5 minutes...I promise you will not be dissapointed....

Do not draft Mike Pouncey. We don't need another loser Gator on the Phins. I hate Crowder. Funny how we never draft Hurricanes & they're right in our backyard. Could have drafted Reggie Wayne, Vince Wilfork, Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, Brandon Meriweather, and Jon Beason to name a few.

By the way, for all the conspiracy theorists out there who thought Barack Obama was born in Kenya, the reverend is waiting for you in his office.



as a longtime rams fan frustrated many a game by johnny u, i remember a 7-0 game between two awesome defenses. in the fourth quarter it seemed like unitas threw a medium to long pass toward the left sideline, where dick anderson picked it off. as you have read many times in my posts, i remember maybe 7 perfectly executed blocks by the dolphin defenders who found themselves on offense when anderson had the ball- and i mean i remember them as PERFECTLY EXECUTED BLOCKS, with somebody nailing unitas near the goal line as dick anderson went in for the clincher. it was the week after the xmas day marathon and came against the defending SB champs- sweet revenge for shula against rosenbloom. i am anxious to see the NFL network's "america's game" to see the dolphins' run-up to the loss to dallas and another look at anderson's run. it ain't on youtube, but to me it is the single greatest play in league history; while alan ameche scoring in the sudden death game put the NFL on the map, it was a four yard (if that) run that anybody could have made. anderson's runback was an example of football executed by well-coached men who had obviously played on the other side of the ball or else really practiced interception returns down to an art. READY FOR "EL CLASICO" UEFA STYLE!!! viva barca, although roubinho is a tough and shrewd manager: "the genius" is a well-earned name-look at what befell inter when he left.


sorry- meant "MOURINHO", not the brazilian player robinho!!! the excitement has gotten to me!!!

Kazaam, I'm no fan of either party; although I was a McCain fan ever since I noticed that he always focuses on trying to do the right things and not just what his party wants (except for the campaign where he needed to do that to get his own party to vote for him).

However, the birth certificate thing is just too much. It's like the "we're going to be a socialist" country now because we want people to have health care.

A guy in my office is trying to show me clues as to how the birth certificate has been altered. He is pointing out that one of the "K" was lowered on purpose to make it look realistic. But then - all the other K's are normal. According to him, when a typewriter has a flaw in a key ..it will consistently make the error.

yeah you guys. Listen to the youtube link provided by Orange Bowl 4ever. Listen to how Weaver sets up the lineup, quick, simple but gives you the picture. That link is a summary of all 48 Marino TD passes in 1984.

I'm going to try and find some from the 1972 season.

mike1 - I recommend you go to your local library and read chapter 7 of part 3 of my book. You do that and it should become abundantly clear the state of our condition.

Cote...I wanted to send you for work to South Dakota a little while ago,but frankly,I would have had a lot of regrets because,after Mad Dog....you are my favourite!!


it is hard to judge a play-by-play man from calls of 48 TD passes; a game in its entirety is a better indicator; however he is miles better than the awful howard david who was five seconds behind the play on the field and who took 10 seconds to identify a receiver on a completion. dick enberg did the rams solo on radio when i was a teenager-no color man on radio then- and he was SUPERB!! he still enjoys the occasional oportunity to call a game on radio but his work in the rams' terrific 11-1-2 season, including a great comeback against the packers in the next to last game of the season (blackout in effect) was awesome. the next week they knocked sula and the colts out of the playoffs by defeating the colts and both finished 11-1-2, but the rams had the head-to-head victory and went on to lose in green bay. in an age when 7-9 teams make the playoffs, sitting at home with a one loss season was the colts' fate in 67. they did come back to go 13-1 in 68 and get to the SB in miami against- well, we all know what happened.

When the angels in Heaven ask Jim how is he doing,
he'll look at his new wings, feel all the love around and proudly say, "Never Better"!!


MESSI!!!! crucial away goal in a mess of a match- not the artistic contest for which we were hoping.

L. Smith,

you have captured the essence of the man!!


MESSI #2!!! a simple "give and go" and then he gets by 3 defenders and the goalkeeper!!! what did maradonna do to him to make him ineffectice in south africa??

Jim Mandich made listening to Dolphins games an unique experience and it won't be the same without him. Rest easy sir, you've earned it. See you soon around in heaven, Mad Dog.

Mad Dog, you will be dearly missed. I'm sure you're up in Heaven right now talking football with the man upstairs. Rest in peace, buddy.

Sad to see his passing but happy that his suffering has ended. He was a very rare one indeed, in the very best sense. I really loved to hear him on the radio. I cannot count how many times friends and I turned the vol. on the tv completely down and turned on the radio to hear the "Mad Dog" and company. Really gonna miss hearing the classic Mandich exclamation, "awwwwwwright Miiiii-aamiiiiiii!" RIP "Mad Dog' and thanks for the many great years of Dolphins commentary and for the 1972 Perfect Season. I doubt there is anyone up to par enough to fill his shoes.


Captain Curtis.

Awwright Miami.

Riding around with the windows down.

Green lizards.

That'll put a tingle in your pants.

What goes on at a bangy-dangy?

I could go on for days and not cover all the wit and humor of a man who was also intelligent, always well-prepared, and an outstanding human being. Godspeed Mad Dog, You will be missed on this earth.

RIP Mad Dog

Ill be driving around with my windows down today

I only have this to add. One day Mandich revealed that he had been in a business that went broke. He had lost everything and he had to start over. He started his construction (I think) company and built it up to a success. The point is that he had seen bad times and he did not let that defeat him. He made another (business) life for himself and he could sit back and enjoy those green lizards as he hosted his talk show.

He may have been an Ohio guy who went to Michigan, but he sure loved Miami. And he always let that show.

I feel the same way about our hometown, and I will always remember ' AAAWWWWRRRIIIGGGHHHTTTTT MIAMI!!" and think of the Mad Dog.

Square Grouper,

thanks for mentioning captain curtis, who was being groomed for the afternoon slot when the contract that maddog was counting the days on was tossed when he became ill; curtis got the short end of it and the insufferable sid rosenberg- as obnoxious as they come- took the spot. hoping that the captain stays in the market and ascends to the heights that maddog was grooming him for- he's miles better than anybody on the air now and deserves more than a couple of weekend hours and the UM football games. a great chemistry between the two made afternoons on 560- now unlistenable- a real joy.

Kazaam, wasn't that the same South Park episode in which Cartman mocked and then beat up a midg.. er little person. lol.

Coach Weber from Solon,Ohio and now in Viera,Fl:
I remember coaching Jim when he play Jr. High
Basketball and coached him in Track with Coach
Jewett and with Coach Bob Vogt in Football.
During the Summer we worked on the athletic complex, cutting grass, painting blechers,locker rooms etc. A fine young man
who grew into a great man.


I liked Curt Gowdy & Tony Kubek. Joe Garagiola. And the original MNF crew, even the quirky Howard Cosell.

But Rick Weaver was radio..and he did the Dolphins and the Strikers (the seasons overlapped) and he was awesome. You can still tell his delivery even from that youtube video on Marino's 48 passes. You have to watch all of them..focus on the set up more than the actual play. Also, keep in mind this is 12 years after the 72 season. Maybe he slowed down some.

Jeff George! I say we sign Jeff George before someone else does!!!!


curt gowdy and paul christman were part of the original AFL TV announcing crew, and for my money the best duo ever for pro football. paul christman was the best color guy ever, and when he died al de rogatis replaced him and was not bad, but was too "nu yawk" for many. keith jackson did a year of MNF with howard and don meredith before frank gifford joined up, and MNF in those days of limited broadcasts and local blackouts was a holiday!! if the game was in LA, we would drive to bakersfield or santa barbara to watch the rams, or else try to pick up the san diego ABC outlet from my parents home in the hills of beverly by unhooking the cable. game 7 of the 69 NBA finals had 15-20 of my high school classmates in my room watching the lakers lose to the celtics (wilt on the bench) on about a 20 inch black and white TV.

Ronnie Brown moves to QB full-time and Chad moves to running back where the punishment he has coming to him can be justly meeted out.

goodbye to a dolphin great. Jim Mandich.

shark74. good joke my friend.


a dolphin great for sure!! it was sad to see what the chemo and radiation did to a robust man like maddog- as they often say about the dreaded illness "the cure is worse than the sickness". we crossed paths once in the WQAM parking lot and robust was what he was and how i will remember him. the hundreds of phone calls to his show were invigorating and the e-mails of mine to which he respondsed are locked into my e-mail memory to read and re-read- never gonna delete one of them. i treasure the one he sent me when i was on the way to jerusalem for the summer where he gave me the footbal axiom: "rabbi, keep your head on a swivel"!! priceless

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