Whether it’s dropping him straight into the No. 1 booth or claiming he’ll be the next John Madden, CBS has set a very high bar for network neophyte Tony Romo. Now comes more evidence that the bar has been nudged even higher.
Via Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, CBS specifically opted not to request a dispensation from the NFL that would allow Romo to work only on Sundays in the aftermath of NBC’s successful effort to secure permission for Mike Tirico to handle play-by-play duties on Thursday Night Football, while Al Michaels remains in place with Sunday Night Football.
“In the two months since it hired him, CBS is even higher on Romo and is ready to roll with him in the booth with [Jim] Nantz on Sundays AND the five-game ‘TNF’ package,” Raissman writes.
It’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, but the broader point makes sense: With the NFL relaxing its “No. 1 team only” rule for NBC, CBS could have sought a similar allowance, if it wanted to put someone other than Romo in that spot on Thursday nights.
Regardless of why CBS didn’t do it, the notion that “CBS is even higher on Romo” even though he hasn’t worked a game yet will serve only to put more pressure on him when the games begin, and as a practical matter to give him nowhere to go but down.
It’s always better to set low expectations, in any situation. By pumping Romo up as the next great broadcasting phenomenon, skeptics will be more inclined to find nits to pick — and will naturally be inclined to say, “I don’t get it” if Romo is anything other than the boom-bang-wap-doink–he’ll-feel-that-one-tomorrow of the one-and-only John Madden.