NFL

At an estimated $16-17 Million per CBS pays Tony Romo he is now being criticized for a lack of engagement

Does CBS Have a Tony Romo Problem?

Podolsky

CBS has been bombarded with negative media recently when it comes to their lead NFL broadcasting team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, with most of it being aimed at Romo. Between SNL’s parody of the pair to open their live show last Saturday, and the negative press highlighted by the New York Post’s slam at them, Nantz and Romo must feel like whipping boys.

To be fair, it is Romo who has disappointed this year terribly, not Nantz. In fact Nantz seems as sharp as ever with some great lines when opportunities present themselves. For example, when one player got clotheslined viciously, Nantz said, “I haven’t seen a hit like that since “The Longest Yard.” 

Romo was everyone’s darling when he first started with Nantz in 2017 and drew oodles of praise for predicting play after play in the playoffs that year. But as has been pointed out, Romo was fresh from his playing days in 2017 and knew everyone’s formations and favorite plays. Not so much anymore. In fact it’s Nantz who keeps pointing out new trends in their game with Romo responding, “Absolutely Jim,” far too often.

CBS is paying Romo 16 or 17 million a year, which tops Nantz’s paycheck for doing much more for the network. For one thing, Nantz has been the face of CBS Sports for some time and has headed up their golf coverage for years. This, however, is all Romo is getting paid for. With Super Bowl 58 around the corner, Tony better tighten up his game fast. 

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A few plays from the NFC championship game reminded me of years gone by. One was the 49ers Brandon Aiyuk’s diving 51-yard circus catch off the face mask of the Lions’ defender reminded me of Lynn Swann’s diving circus catch of a Terry Bradshaw pass in Super Bowl X.

 The other was 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy’s pair of long runs escaping the rush. It reminded me of Miami Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese’s unexpected scampers in the 1973 AFC championship game. (They still played those championship games in December in ’73). In the first half, Griese escaped a rush and ran for 17 yards. Then in the second half, with the game still up for grabs, Griese called his own number and ran for 27 yards to help put the game away. Griese was still one of the few quarterbacks who called their own plays back then, and most of them that day were running calls for either Larry Csonka or Mercury Morris. In fact Griese only threw the ball six times.   

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A throwback note: Back in February of 1990 I interviewed Robin Roberts when she first joined ESPN as a Sunday morning anchor. The interview was for College and Pro Newsweekly. She was a great hire for Steve Bornstein and it was quickly becoming obvious that she had a future beyond Sunday morning TV. So near the end of the interview I asked where she’d like to be 20 years in the future. “I’d like to be governor of Mississippi,” she said without hesitating. It was a lofty goal, but at least financially, she’s done a heck’ve lot better hosting Good Morning America.

CBS will run the Super Bowl on September 11th with Nantz, Romo, Tracy Wollson and Evan Washburn

 

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Rich Podolsky

Rich Podolsky, an established writer and reporter since the 70s, has been a staff writer for CBS and has written for ESPN, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Palm Beach Post, the Wilmington News Journal, College & Pro Football Newsweekly and TV Guide. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers' Keystone Award for writing excellence. A fan of music from the 60s and 70s, he is the author of "Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear," which relates how Kirshner discovered Bobby Darin, Carole King and Neil Sedaka among others, and "Neil Sedaka, Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivor,” which tells the inside story of Sedaka’s comeback. His new book, “You Are Looking Live!” is about CBS’ revolutionary pregame show in 1975 which introduced Brent, Phyllis, Irv and The Greek to America.

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Barry Kipnis
1 month ago

I agree Tony Romo is no longer the “special” analyzer he once was. I’m not sold on Jim Nantz, especially what he doesn’t say. In the Bills-Chiefs playoff game, so-called Bills “fans” were pelting the Chiefs with snowballs, including Patrick Mahomes, but Nantz didn’t offer a comment one way or the other.