Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will soon be embarking on his latest challenge without a formal dress rehearsal.
After five in-studio practice games and three on the road, Romo will debut as the No. 1 NFL analyst on CBS without having broadcast a preseason game. He was due to help call the Chiefs-Seahawks game on Friday night, but the birth of his third child kept him from going.
CBS nevertheless remains confident. Perhaps unreasonably confident in a guy who with no experience or training is bring plopped into one of the highest-profile spots in sports broadcasting.
“He’s been in a lot of pressurized situations,” game producer Jim Rikhoff told Josh Carpenter of SportsBusiness Daily. “He’s ready to build a good foundation where we can get better every week. . . . He’s a quick study. Now we’re coming down to just tweaking things.”
No matter how well Romo does, the expectations created by both the assignment, the way he obtained it, and the endless praise from CBS means that he’ll have to hit a home run to simply be deemed to have done an adequate job. A debut in a three-person booth on the third or fourth tier would have entailed far less pressure for this “pressurized situation.”
And while Romo has indeed faced plenty of pressurized situations, it doesn’t mean he’ll automatically thrive in this specific environment. Under that theory, Joe Montana would have been a great broadcaster, as would any other player who has found a way to deliver on the biggest stages and in the biggest moments.
Again, Romo very well may deliver when he and Jim Nantz bring the Raiders-Titans game into millions of home. But there’s no way he will overdeliver, because CBS consistently has overpromised.