Boomer Esiason: Tony Romo will have “trial by fire” on TV

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Lost in the questions of whether Tony Romo will return to football and whether Phil Simms will return to work for CBS is the most important question for both Romo and CBS: Will their newest employee be any good?

With CBS winning a bidding war with FOX (and possibly NBC) for Romo’s services, it’s possible that certain details were overlooked. Like, you know, whether Romo can do the job.

After all, CBS put Mike Carey on the air, and he clearly couldn’t do the job. Who’s to say Romo will be any better at something he’s never done?

It’s not easy. And the hardest part of the job is making it look easy by providing a smooth, confident, and authoritative delivery of a script that is concocted extemporaneously in a 10-15 second window. Get in, be good, get out. Over and over again. And anything you say can and will be used against you on social media,

Joe Montana failed badly in the somewhat (if not considerably) easier job of providing studio analysis, where the action is less frenetic and more time is available for making a point. Presumably, much more was expected from the guy who earned over and over again the on-field moniker of “Joe Cool.”

Current CBS studio analyst Boomer Esiason has done both game broadcasts and studio analysis, and he has some advice for his newest colleague.

It’ll be a trial by fire,” Esiason told Peter King of “It’s dangerous, I guess my first reaction is: If I only knew then what I know now. . . . Jim Nantz will be really good for Tony. He knows how to make a guy in the booth feel comfortable, and he knows they’ll be highly scrutinized.

“One thing I would say is, try not to be all things to all people. I just overkilled the first year. I read so much, prepared so much. Have fun. Don’t think you know more about football than everybody you’re talking to. . . . Social media will be a killer. The slings and arrows, you won’t know where they’re coming from. But they’re coming. It’s Twitter muscle. Alcohol Twitter muscle. But it’s just like being a quarterback. We’re used to criticism. We know we’re going to take shots. It’s part of the job. He has to know that going in. . . . I hope he can criticize a play call. He has to do that.”

The challenge when criticizing a play call will be to find a way to do it fairly and persuasively, with a skin thick enough to realize that anything remotely negative he says about any team will trigger a knee-jerk conclusion from fans that he “hates” that team. Still, it’s always better to say something than to say nothing.

As MDS pointed out on Wednesday’s PFT Live, Romo had a chance to say something about where the Texans should turn at quarterback now that he’s off the market. Romo instead said nothing.

While he can get away with that in April, he’ll have no choice but to quickly conjure just-right-porridge takes on a big platform for 17 Sundays and several Thursdays, starting on September 10. If he’s not good, he’ll know it, he’ll hear it, and he’ll grow to quickly hate the job. Based on Romo’s decision to walk away from football while he still can play, he likely possesses the kind of self-awareness that would prompt him, like Joe Montana did two decades ago, to exit TV after only one year.

Which is the biggest reason why he wanted to be released by the Cowboys. If the TV doesn’t work out, Romo will be able to return to football, picking his team unfettered by the Cowboys or any other team.

36 responses to “Boomer Esiason: Tony Romo will have “trial by fire” on TV

  1. I get wanting to sign Romo as a color guy, and I get wanting to replace Simms. What I don’t get, is making a guy whose never done the job part of the networks “A” broadcast team. That said, I’d much rather listen to a competely green Tony Romo than have to suffer any more of Dan Fouts than we already have to.

  2. Of all the occupations in America, being in media has the lowest bar – you merely talk about what others do. At least he’s played the sport.

  3. Romo has always been well-spoken, and he’s been a good QB for most of a dozen years. So I think he has the skill set to do well in the booth. Boomer is right that being with Nantz is a good thing for Romo; Nantz can even make a blabbering old man like Bill Raftery sound intelligent.

    And all this assuming that Romo really wants to play and is doing this broadcast thing as a temp job sounds an awful lot like the assumptions made about Peyton Manning a year ago. BREAKING NEWS: It really IS possible that Romo has decided the beatings he’s taken the past 3 years is enough, and he wants to be able to be a functioning human being after age 50, and retiring now is the best way to accomplish that.

  4. Good or bad, he should have played till he couldnt anymore. Squeezed that juice till it was gone then moved on to something new. This could end badly or be brilliant. Time will tell.

  5. Just me personally, I’d rather have a guy that went to school to be a broadcaster and had professional broadcasting experience on my #1 broadcasting team. Howard Cosell was outstanding. Marv Albert’s has some interesting personal hobbies but come on, nobody broadcasts basketball like Marv. Look at ESPN back in the 80’s and 90’s when it was king of sports. No ex jocks (outside of being a guest on the set) they were all journalist.

    I could listen to Dan Patrick talk about paint drying for 8 hours. I may only be able to stomach a few minutes of listening to ex jock talking about the sport he use to play. Smart questions make for entertaining interviews. Dan Patrick asks the smartest questions of anyone that does sports interviews. We need more guys like him.

  6. So much hate for one of the most exciting, productive, and classy athletes of the era. The Cowboys defense has been mediocre to abysmal the last 20 years, and Tony has worked magic in his time in Dallas. Had he been a quarterback on any other team, he would be revered among fans.

  7. these guys say the same crap every game, acting like the audience is just a bunch of idiots. im sure he’ll be fine.

  8. He faced longer odds coming out of college, making a pro roster and eventually becoming a franchise QB. The comments section on this and other sites is filled with hate and hoping people fail. Some people need to get a life!

  9. Rumor has it that Simms will be flown in to call all the post season games since he knows how to get the job done in January and Tony will stand behind him with the clipboard taking notes.

  10. I don’t watch football because of who is calling the game. Most commentators annoy me. Saying less is more. If they just showed the game without any broadcasters I would probably enjoy it more.

  11. Jim Nance and Joe Buck still have jobs and have ducked for years. Only problem for CBS is that Romo is due to make his annual “there’s always next season” decision before pre-season this year. Hope they accounted for that in the contract.

  12. “Alcohol Twitter Muscle.” THAT is the best description about twitter, and probably 90% of the online comments made, that I’ve heard. Boomer, or whomever came up with that gets a ‘plus-one’ in my books. I will be using that phrase myself going forward. I might add the word ‘Anonymous’ at the beginning for even more clarity.

  13. The good news is Tony’s wife (the former Miss Missouri) was a journalism major at Mizzou. It is one of the top journalism schools. She became a news broadcaster as well. I am sure she can help with a lot of ins and outs of broadcasting. My gut feeling is he will be successful at the new job.

  14. Who really cares how good Romo is? He’s just an ex QB tossing around some insight during the game to add to the entertainment. The announcers play such a small role in our enjoyment of the game. Now, if there’s a strike and we are watching a bunch of scab players instead of the NFL players, then that’s bad!

  15. One terrible, white haired and soft chinned mediocre 80’s/90’s QB defending another terrible, white haired and soft chinned mediocre 80’s90’s QB

  16. I for one found Sims to be very knowledgeable and if you really know football you could appreciate him. I liked the fact that he was willing to put it all out there. I hope Tony succeeds and caters to people who understand the game. If Tony fails, we all lose.

  17. I would guess that at some point CBS has had Romo and Nance call taped games, and they must have seen something they liked. Hard to believe they would go in blind.

  18. When Boomer, Simms or Nance are broadcasting, the Tv’s on Mute and the HiFi is rockin’ …. all of these guys are nothing but hot air … and as boring as it gets.

  19. Thank everyone’s stars Simms is gone now if they would get rid of happy face Nance maybe football would be worth watching again. The booth announcers don’t get it they are not more important than the game itself, just call the game. Fans don’t care what you would call or what you did or anything about your thoughts on a team or player.

  20. Boomer is such an idiot. He wasn’t that good, but the way he carries himself you’d think he has multiple rings! I don’t like Romo much as I am a Giants fan, but I respect him for his toughness and willingness to push through injuries. I respect nothing about Boomer. Oh and Boomer, Romo DOES know lightyears more about football than the people he’s going to be talking to you dolt!

  21. He has more personality than Aikman who says “Make plays” or “Made a play” every sentence. Any broadcast group is better than the Buck/Aikman duo in my opinion.

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