The CBS Tony Romo extension: While trillions were lost in the stock market, the popular voice hits the jackpot


Reports and rumors: ESPN wants Monday, Thursday AND Sunday Night Football + Michaels and P. Manning


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Out of a cloudless sky, came a gloomy week.

I went to sleep Friday night right after reading the latest about the unsettling threat of the coronavirus and the trillions already pared from the values of the stock market.

Then on Saturday morning, I awoke to a headline that most Americans couldn’t have found soothing after a rough week. Tony Romo will be the highest paid sportscaster in American history.

If the numbers published by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand are anywhere near correct, the ex-quarterback will be paid $17 million per year. That’s almost a mil a game! So now we know, where at least some of that lost Wall Street money went.

Yes, the loss of life and the dulling of the wealth effect hit home. But one lucky voice broke the bank. Divergent stories indeed, and they’re tough to assimilate after one quick disturbing week.

The takeaways:

  • Does this mean that Stephen A. Smith is going on the unemployment line at $8 million per year. Should he fire his agent?
  • Is there a clause in Tony’s contract on the number of accurate predictions he has to make before he’s paid in full?
  • Are Peyton and Eli Manning waiting for ESPN’s call any minute?
  • Is ESPN’s overbearing sermonizer, Kirk Herbstreit, seeking a raise too?
  • Has Joe Tessitore started prepping for college games yet? How about Booger McFarland? Is he telling ESPN, “Hey, bring in one of the Mannings. Bring in both. It’s okay, I’ll get myself comfortable again in the Booger-mobile.”
  • Is Greg Olsen, potentially another Romo, reconsidering retirement from the field?
  • Hey, with the big investment in Romo, is CBS considering analysts-only broadcasts?
  • Will golf aficionado Rome sit at the 18th hole next to Sir Nick and friend Jim Nantz?
  • John Madden is thinking about coming out of retirement to break Romo’s money record. Madden hinted that he might even travel by plane to do it. Charter, of course!
  • Will CBS give up the yellow first-down line to save a few bucks to pay for Tony Romo?
  • Rumor has it that Dennis Miller wants back in.
  • Sideliner Lisa Salters told ESPN that she’s prepared to sit in the Booger-mobile too but wants her salary doubled.
  • Brent Musburger said, “What about me? I built NFL Today?”
  • Dan Fouts told CBS he’ll actually prepare for each broadcast if his salary is tripled.
  • CBS boss Sean McManus told Tracy Wolfson that he didn’t forget about her. He’s adding a dress allowance to her compensation. But he insists that he chooses the colors of her new mink coats.
  • The great team player Jim Nantz told friends that he never approached McManus for a bonus for his good work on-air breaking in Romo.
  • Romo is stealing a page out of Warren Buffett’s playbook. He’s offering loans to AAA rated S&P companies at 10% interest and warrants on their stocks.
  • Ex-NFL officials who are now the rules-experts for the networks are meeting this week to talk about forming a union so that they are better compensated.
  • The ad agencies are checking in with CBS to see how much more this craziness will cost them.
  • Jerry Jones is boasting to everyone he bumps into including the bathroom attendant at the posh ’21 Club’ in Manhattan. He says that he never had to pay Romo that much as a quarterback.



David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
4 years ago

The people who are worth $17 million a year are those who cure diseases or negotiate lasting peace treaties. That said …. The really interesting question is HOW Romo is worth that much to CBS each year. Does he bring in that kind of revenue? Are they sending the message that they are totally committed to the NFL, which obviously could inspire all kinds of fun (a clause never mentioning head injuries, perhaps?)? Was it worth that much to keep him from going elsewhere? I think of when Vin Scully quit the Dodgers. As I recall the story, in 1976,… Read more »