The decision to quit now, the show's star told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm, was a creative one he made with executive producer Phil Rosenthal.
"We had done a lot of stories and we were running out of stories," says. "And we did not want to compromise it and leave it fresh and leave when we think we had done it all and we thought it was at that point."
Rosenthal said he never considered expanding the final episode beyond its usual half-hour format.
"I saw a lot of shows that did it and I wasn't crazy about them. We always lived as a half hour with rare exceptions and I thought for our purposes, that form of story telling, a half hour is right."
There is, however, a one-hour special of highlights scheduled beforehand on CBS.
Both Romano and Rosenthal mined their personal experiences to provide scripts for the show. In fact, Romano says, the name was coined by
"My brother, a New York police cop, used to compare my life to his and how hard his life was: 'I got to chase criminals and everybody loves Raymond.' Phil said we'll use it as a working title and the name stuck."
At the time, Rosenthal said he had no great expectations, just that "someone would like the script.
"And maybe we would get to make a pilot," he said. "And then for the pilot to go and for us to last 13 episodes and for us to get picked up for the first season and to go beyond that, every sickle thing is a miracle."
The show was ranked 81st in the first season, but midway through, Rosenthal and the cast knew they had something special going.
"We felt like we had a chemistry and we had a uniqueness to us," Romano said, "but no one thought, you know, we were a sure thing because of the ratings. But the critics were nice to us. The reviews were good so they gave us a longer chance you normally get being in 80th place. You know?"