Should Romo spend a year as the No. 2 analyst at CBS?


Nearly a week after the stunning (but not entirely unexpected news) that Tony Romo will stop playing (but not “retire” from) football to become only the fifth lead NFL analyst in CBS history, a very good question has emerged about Romo’s transition. And, like many things that make perfect sense, this one will never happen.

But it’s worth pondering, given the potential benefit it would have for Romo the broadcaster. Richard Deitsch of suggests that, for 2017, Romo should be the No. 2 analyst at CBS.

Deitsch argues as a threshold matter that Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts already do a better job than Jim Nantz and Phil Simms did. Apart from that, Romo would benefit from getting his initial reps on a platform with a lower profile.

“Romo has zero network broadcasting experience,” Deitsch writes. “That means he will be learning the mechanics of broadcasting on the fly while doing the network’s most significant NFL game every week. That’s a high-wire tightrope to walk no matter how bright or prepared you are in an era where social media opinions about broadcasters are impossible to ignore (CBS Sports management was well aware of the vitriol toward Mike Carey, and I believe it impacted their decision to not bring him back). Not only does Romo have a full Sunday schedule, but he will also be assigned five Thursday Night games. That’s a tough grind even for an experienced broadcaster, given the preparation and travel it requires.”

He’s right, but as Deitsch acknowledges it won’t ever happen. For starters, Nantz wouldn’t accept being knocked down to the No. 2 team, so at most it would be Nantz and Fouts on the top unit, w`ith Eagle and Romo spending a year together. Which also doesn’t make much sense, because just as Romo would be getting comfortable with Eagle, Romo would have to go back to square one with Nantz.

Also, CBS had to make Romo an offer he couldn’t refuse. A chance to be No. 1 in 2018 after serving a season as No. 2 may not have gotten Romo to give up football. Giving him the top spot did.

That’s where it becomes tempting to wonder aloud about the behind-the-scenes machinations that could have consisted of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones lobbying CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus about the value of replacing Simms with Romo. It could have easily been sold as a win-win; CBS gets a better analyst who can do the job for two or three full decades, and Jones doesn’t have to worry about Romo playing for (and thriving with) the Texans or anyone else.

And make no mistake about it. Jones didn’t want the coverage of his team to be diluted in Dallas by writers and broadcasters who become obsessed with Romo’s exploits elsewhere. If the Cowboys were to stumble in 2017 and if the Romo-led Texans were to thrive, the Texans could have supplanted America’s Team in its own hometown.

If that’s what happened, it explains plenty. From the one-day-he’s-getting-released-next-day-he-isn’t of a month ago to the one-day-other-teams-can-bring-him-in-for-a-visit-next-day-he’s-retired of a week ago, the inconsistencies suggest the absence of a plan but the end result became the best possible short-term outcome for Jones — and the best possible long-term outcome for Romo.

To make it happen, CBS had to offer Romo the No. 1 spot right now. Once it did, Romo couldn’t say no. Which surely had Jones discreetly pumping a fist and quietly muttering, “Yes.”

21 responses to “Should Romo spend a year as the No. 2 analyst at CBS?

  1. Except that Fouts is not better than Simms and should never be part of the A-team over at CBS

  2. What difference does it make to you or to Richard Deitsch or to anyone else what CBS does? They write the checks and make the decisions. Mind ya business.

  3. Either he know football and can talk about it, or he doesn’t. He isn’t the play by play guy. He will do fine.

  4. Simms knows football, no one should argue that. He was #1 for a reason, those of use who understand the finer points of the game can appreciate his commentary. I got past the “Eim” instead of “him” and the often repeated “we talked about it” a long time ago to focus on his actual analysis. I have no idea who CBS has would bring in as a #1 who knows football as well as Phil. I am hoping Tony is as good, if not better.

  5. I find Fouts to make very obvious points and to treat the viewing audience with condescension.

    I liked Simms, but it was probably his time given how many people don’t like him.

    Hopefully Romo can do well. He doesn’t come across a funny guy, but there needs to be some humor in the booth at times. Nance and Phil were a bit too serious.

  6. This move was just as much about replacing Simms as it was putting Romo in as the #1 analyst. There is no doubt that they would have preferred Manning but he just doesn’t want to deal with all of the headaches involved. It really got to a point with Simms where Nantz was actually doing both play by play and analysis. It was a struggle for him to draw out Simms. Speaking of Super Bowls, next year’s could be Al Michaels’ last before he hands off to Mike Tirico. Al could be the best all around play by play guy of the last 5o years.

  7. Romo cannot be worse than Troy Barkman or Philly Simms – start him now – it is not like someone is going to die if he makes a mistake.

  8. Did he take broadcasting classes in college? He might be more prepared than we know. I’m sure CBS will train him so they won’t be embarrassed. He could make an accidental comment off the cuff like Brian Kinchen did when he said something in a play was gay.

  9. Who is “#1 Broadcast Team” is a much bigger deal among the media then it is the fans. I must say, I have never tuned into a game because of who the broadcast team was calling the game.
    That being said, I have turned down the sound and put on the radio if a team was truly horrible.
    The # 1 team gets the best games, people will watch regardless.

  10. Why is this even a thing? Who cares? If the announcers are lousy, you turn the sound off and still enjoy the game! Isn’t that what we do with the never-ending commercials anyway?

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