The biggest positive about having a former player in the broadcast booth is they presumably understand the game at an expert level. The biggest problem is they generally don’t want to share with the world when they know a player screwed up.
This hasn’t been Tony Romo’s problem so far. Romo, at a news conference for the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, said that during test runs for CBS with play-by-play man Jim Nantz, he was too critical. Didn’t see that coming.
“The first two games I did, actually some of my bosses there at CBS told me, ‘You know, we don’t need to be quite that harsh,’” Romo said, via ESPN. “So I think that part of it I probably have to find a fine line, because the standard for playing this game is just, it’s high.”
It’s disappointing CBS told Romo to tone it down, because honest criticism is rare from the booth. Hopefully, Romo doesn’t go a full Jon Gruden on us now and let us know for three hours a week how great everyone is. It’s really surprising that Romo would be that critical, because it seems like there’s a direct correlation between how harsh an analyst is and how many years he is removed from the game. Romo retired a few months ago to be CBS’ top NFL analyst. Plenty of the players he’ll be talking about on CBS are friends, or former teammates.
His explanation was interesting, and it might have to do with his ultimately unsuccessful quest to win a Super Bowl.
“(T)o win and win a championship or to get there, I never got a chance to obtain that, and that’s something that I’ll always regret,” Romo said. “But at the same time, I understand what it takes to be kind of good.”
It is a fascinating experiment by CBS. Nobody tunes in simply for the broadcasters, at least since Howard Cosell left “Monday Night Football.” Romo, at least in his first season, might be an exception. He is personable and knows the game, and brings a big name to CBS. He’s also entirely raw, so nobody can know what to expect from him. He explained during his tests he was still learning basic things like whether he should be looking at the field or the monitor during plays.
“When I took this job, I really didn’t know operationally how anything worked,” Romo said.
Yep, Romo’s rookie season on CBS should be interesting. It’ll be really fun if Romo doesn’t dial back the criticism too much.
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