Once the punchline of NFL late-game interception jokes, Tony Romo has announced that he is leaving the NFL to take over the top analyst spot in the CBS broadcasting both next to Jim Nantz. While this may not be a Boston-specific story, I think this will have an impact on the Boston market for two reasons. First, the Patriots play a lot of games on CBS and as a perennial contender, they often draw the premier broadcast team and timeslot. Boston fans better be ready for the voice of Romo. Second, and less about media, it makes Jimmy Garoppolo an even more valuable commodity to sell for a higher price.
In looking at the changes to the booth, it is rare that you see a player step off the field and right into a high-profile broadcast spot. Pundits predicted that Peyton Manning was a candidate for this, but it never came to fruition. Additionally, it is such a change of tune from CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, who just last fall praised former top analyst Phil Simms, saying:
“Listening to it with a very critical ear, I think Phil is vastly underappreciated, and part of that is the overreaction to social media. If you listen to what he said during some of the biggest moments of the season—he was the first one to say if Denver won the Super Bowl, Von Miller would be MVP, and he was the first one to criticize Cam Newton for not jumping on his fumble toward the end of the game. He was on top of most of the storylines for most of the game, and that’s part of the reason we won the [Sports] Emmy [for Outstanding Live Sports Special]. I would just suggest that if people listen to Jim and Phil with an open mind, I think they would recognize what a good job they are doing.”
However, Simms has been brutal as a TV analyst in recent years, gaining notoriety for his babbling analysis that has its own faux-Twitter account with over 41,000 followers.
While I agree that Simms should be out as the top analyst, I’m not sure if Romo was the guy for the job. It is tough to step right into that top role, especially never having called a game before. It could also get particularly awkward if Romo does make a midseason return to the NFL, forcing CBS to return to the Nantz-Simms duo. However, nothing will ever top the Simms fart on the awkward scale.