Sunday, February 25, 2024

On the Super Bowl’s biggest play, Tony Romo freelanced and lost

When Tony Romo became the biggest sensation in NFL broadcasting, it was because he was a gunslinger as an analyst, predicting plays with an unconventional style that ultimately led to a $180 million contract of dollars over 10 years, then the richest agreement known in the history of sports media. .

These days, four years into that deal, after all the criticism of Romo, CBS is clearly heading into its third Super Bowl as a TV analyst looking for a manager. game rather than a game changer. But old habits die hard.

During the final call to end the Super Bowl LVIII overtime classic between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, the lack of teamwork from Romo and his play-by-play partner Jim Nantz stood out. is manifested at the worst time.

Early on, Romo did a good job with the Chiefs down three points and inside the 5-yard line late in overtime, explaining that it didn’t matter as viewers watched the clock tick down. get closer to zero – the match would not end and would simply continue. in a second quarter of OT. But Romo spoke too long.

This prevented Nantz from properly preparing for the final play. As the game-winning touchdown was scored, Nantz said, “First and goal, Mahomes throws it!” It’s here! Tough man! Jackpot! Kansas City! »

Romo initially mumbled in the background of Nantz’s call like he was a Yahoo on local radio. After Nantz finished, Romo began: “That was the Andy Reid special. …”And then so on.

For 30 seconds, as CBS showed his reaction, Romo talked about the play when the best analysis would have been silence, which would have allowed the crowd and the images to tell the story. This should have been Nantz’s showtime, if anyone.

Nantz and Romo were once supposed to be the next Pat Summerall and John Madden, but they fell so far that their disjointed performance Sunday was one CBS would probably take. Before the final broadcast, the broadcast was far from perfect, but it was manageable overall. Maybe not overnight at the Sports Emmys, but, on the production side, it had its moments.

Nantz and Romo make a lot of money — almost $30 million a year between them — so, like quarterbacks, they get the most credit and blame. Their quarterback rating wasn’t high enough, lacking any obvious big themes.

The duo was never able to explain why defenses — especially the 49ers on Travis Kelce in the first half — were getting by on offenses for so long. They were also very disappointing when the CBS production team expertly spotted Kelce bumping and screaming at his 65-year-old head coach. They rarely talked about online gaming. And the overall themes of the game were often missed. There were no sons.

Rating for the Super Bowl broadcast is the highest level because it is the most prestigious assignment in American sports broadcasting. Nantz has called the play six times, but his partners, first Phil Simms and now Romo, have digressed under his watch. A bad trend.

Meanwhile, Romo lacks consistency in his thoughts. With 10 seconds left in regulation and the Chiefs trailing the 49ers by 11, Romo said, “If you have six seconds, you feel comfortable taking another chance.”

After an incomplete pass, there were six seconds left and Romo said, “If he had seven, I would,” adding that Kansas City would have to punt.

Um, but, Tony, you just said…


Inconsistency happens too often with Romo, causing CBS Sports executives to be brave in public and private, defending him, but actions are almost always where the truth lands, and their thoughts more true seemed evident in their approach.

Early on, it was clear that CBS’ game plan was to simplify the offense. In the first half, he avoided overusing too many votes, sticking mostly to Nantz and Romo. Romo seemed frozen. It was not bad.

The production team made progress in the second quarter. After Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled, he found a sideline throw in which Kelce tackled Reid.

“He says, ‘Keep me inside,'” Romo said, apparently reading lips. “What happened was during the fumble, he wasn’t in the game. Noah Gray came in and he had to block. Noah Gray, the tight end, had to block (Deommodore) Lenoir. Lenoir made him swim and created the fumble. And I think Kelce is saying, “Just keep me in there, even if we’re running the ball.” »

Let’s put aside that you had to consult Google Translate to switch from romo to English to understand what “(Deommodore) Lenoir made him swim and actually created the fumble” could mean, the story is that Kelce almost knocked over his trainer.

It wasn’t Latrell Sprewell on PJ Carlesimo, but it was Taylor Swift’s boyfriend in front of an estimated 115 million viewers. We kind of needed the former All-Pro Cowboys quarterback to tell us if it was kosher or not.

The best part about Romo is his fun and unexpected personality. Non-hardcore fans may like it because Romo comes across as – and from all first-hand reports is – a genuinely nice guy. It would be cool to have a beer with him, good quality from an advertiser.

On Sunday, Romo showed the most personality when he sang Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” to break, channeling another great broadcaster turned Cowboys broadcaster, Don Meredith. Romo would do it again in the third quarter, trying to lure Nantz — who is a broadcaster from the Peter Jennings/Tom Brokaw anchor days — to sing along to Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas.” Romo even did a little Beastie Boys late with “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)!”

As for Nantz, he seemed very excited to open the game, perhaps making up for some unenthusiastic early calls in the playoffs. On the two Roma-isms of the first half, Nantz rightly challenged him. Romo said a fumble could be a lateral in the second quarter, then later in the period, with the scoreless Chiefs down 10, he said they could be in four-man territory. Nantz rightly raised the flag of defiance at both.

Ultimately, the tandem’s problem is that for all their buddy-buddy talk, not to mention their exaggerated “I love you”s on air, they don’t sound off on air. same page.

This disconnect shows up in the biggest spots, when the world is watching you, when what you’ve been doing all season is exposed.

Nantz and Romo should have the broadcast strategy for the latter game. Romo’s appeal may be that he looks like a fan, but he broadcasts the Super Bowl broadcast and gets paid handsomely to do it.

He just needed to step aside to allow Nantz to make his full call, then wait until the sights and sounds had their moment to note that Mahomes is Michael Jordan.

It wasn’t the gunslinger’s time. CBS had the right plan, and Nantz and Romo executed it at times. But in the biggest game of the season, Romo went freelancing and lost.

(Photo by Tony Romo and Jim Nantz: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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