Dan Mason on the CBS Telecast: Nantz gets a B+, Romo was limited because it was a defensive game

Esiason harsh on Brady at halftime and Evan Washburn excels on Pats sideline

All the talk, the build-up, the features, the predictions, the prognostications are finally behind us. It’s kickoff time.

1st Quarter

Good start for Jim Nantz. I feel he built chemistry with Tony Romo who has been talked about the past couple weeks almost as much as the game.

Interestingly, Tony, working his first ever Super Bowl, seemed to have some early jitters. Right out of the gate, Nantz tried to set him up on the opening kickoff encouraging him to spew his patented, “Here we go.” Romo literally couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. The ex-quarterback did settle in as the quarter progressed but Nantz did the heavy lifting .

Evan Washburn, working the Pats sideline was terrific, providing insight on noise levels, suggesting that when the Patriots have the ball they can communicate. Rams a totally different story because the New England fans outnumbered the Rams fans 3-1.

2nd Quarter 

Romo accurately points out that the  Rams are pretty much stopping everything but Julian Edelman. “They have no answer for Edelman.”  Nantz excelled in the first half. He didn’t overdo it but was spot on, pointing out that the Rams had only 57 yards in the first half.

CBS was quick to show graphics as the teams head to the half with lowest score since Super Bowl IX, 3-0.


Boomer Esiason talks tough, saying how poorly Tom Brady played in first half. Brady had 160 yards passing in the first half. Goff had 52. Boomer might have been a little too hard on the future Hall of Famer. Remember that Brady had been forced off his spot more than in the divisional and conference championship rounds.

3d Quarter

Tony interpreted Brady’s verbal barking  at the line of scrimmage, telling viewers that when Brady shouts “Reagan” it’s just simple code for run right.

He was also quick to assess that Jared Goff was able to get some momentum with a couple first downs. He was encouraged by the Rams play-calling, mixing things up.

Nantz continues to keep the attention of casual viewers in a low scoring game.

I would like to have heard Nantz challenge Romo a bit more as to why both teams are struggling.

4th Quarter

It might have been too late for  the Rams but Romo produced insightful commentary late in 4th on a Patriots penalty. He explained why the Rams declined the penalties and essentially utilized a free timeout. Also, when New England got two big first downs late, he gave the veteran offensive line coach. Dante Scarnecchia, a well deserved shout-out.

In summary:

Jim Nantz

Super Bowl LVIII was a tough one for CBS to broadcast because of the limited scoring. Jim Nantz gets a B+. The network’s lead NFL voice kept things steady and moving.

Tony Romo

Because Romo is an experienced offensive player, he took a slight step back because of his limited expertise from a defensive perspective. Due to limited  scoring opportunities, Tony couldn’t really get into the kind of groove that drew him great praise in the AFC championship game. Being unable to thoroughly break down the defenses might have exposed Romo a bit.

Hey, you can’t make a steak out of chopped liver. If the game is dull, there’s just so much anyone can do.

The Mason, Hustle Award

NFL Network’s post game coverage was outstanding. It featured interviews with Tom  Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Bob Kraft, Kyle Van Noy and Stephon Gilmore.


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Dan Mason

Dan Mason has been in sports broadcasting since the 1980s, doing play by play, color and covering the ACC. He previously hosted programming for ESPN Radio in Raleigh. He can be reached at twitter: @mason87dan

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