Jay Gruden isn’t impressed by Tony Romo’s in-game prognostication skills

NFL Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Getty Images

Former Washington coach and one-year Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden concedes that he won’t be coaching this year. He’d like to try his hand at media work. In a recent interview with Ben Standig of TheAthletic.com, Gruden demonstrated the kind of candor he’d bring to a studio or a broadcast booth.

Asked whether Gruden has the ability to predict the next play, if he were broadcasting a game, Gruden said publicly what almost every other game analyst has said privately in recent years regarding Tony Romo’s propensity for prognostication.

I could do it every time,” Gruden said. “He’s only right like 30 percent of the time. Those are usually pretty obvious, I mean. Nobody talks about the times when he’s wrong, but when he’s right, ‘Holy cow, he’s a genius.’ Oh, come on, man. Sure, it’s a run. Nope, it’s a pass. Sorry, I was wrong.”

As George Steinbrenner once said regarding George Costanza, “Hire this man.”

Jay Gruden told the truth, at least as other game analysts see it. Those who played the game, who continue to study it, and who have access to practices and productions meetings, often know exactly what’s going to happen before it happens. They just don’t say so.

Romo recently told Richard Deitsch of TheAthletic.com that the former quarterback reduced the parlor-trick aspect of calling games in 2020.

“I think I’ve probably done it less on purpose a little bit,” Romo said regarding telling the audience what the play will be before it happens. “I don’t consciously try and do it or not do it. I like to be able to do multiple things, and it goes back to what I think people at home want to feel or hear about their team. I’m telling them the truth about everything I see, and you’re not always going to say the right thing or do the right thing. But I do feel like I care and want them to enjoy their game. I take into account anything I do when something might be too much or too little. It’s just a feel. It’s just instinctual. You might be right in the sense that I probably have throttled that back a little bit. But there’s always a time I’ll bring it out, especially if it’s a fun time to do it.”

The reality remains that most game analysts can do it, and that most choose not to. Most also choose not to publicly gripe about Romo doing it (and getting widely praised for it), due to the largely unspoken convention within the broader broadcasting fraternity that they don’t call each other out.

Jay Gruden has yet to hear about that one, apparently. Here’s hoping that he never does. Gruden would be great in a booth or a studio if he’s willing to not pull punches — and in turn to take whatever heat he may get from those who don’t like what he said.

62 responses to “Jay Gruden isn’t impressed by Tony Romo’s in-game prognostication skills

  1. I wonder if ESPN would hire him since he’s Jon Gruden’s brother and sounds just like him

  2. I get it. Media are mad that Romo got so much praise right away with no experience. I’m sure many could predict the play better and I don’t care if he does or doesn’t try to predict plays.

    None of my friends were cowboys fans. We all enjoy romo called games but we can’t figure out why either. I’d love to hear Jay Gruden critique his brother’s days in the booth. The QB guru who never has developed a single QB.

  3. “ The reality remains that most game analysts can do it, and that most choose not to.”

    Oh my. Are you kidding? 😳 Most game analysts are beyond half right in their post play analysis. There is no way those guys would be remotely accurate in their pre snap reads.

  4. Not a fan of Romo when he was playing but think he’s a terrific announcer. It’s part the knowledge of the game & the players that he brings and part his giddy enthusiasm for the game. And the cherry on top is that he doesn’t seem to be envious or bitter, as some former players-turned announcers are.

  5. People enjoy Romo. I certainly do. He’s real, and that’s all we ask.
    On the other hand, John Gruden-Joe Theismann sunshine blowers make me cringe..

  6. Tony is a case where, like Kirk Cousins, the money doesn’t reflect the performance. Constantly rambling during the game with personalized sound effects can get annoying.
    “Ewwwwww I think they’re gonna run it here Jim!”

  7. 17 million a year for only being right 30% of the time is not a bad take in jay how much you making now???

  8. Romo is awful at calling games. I don’t get why they paid him or why all of you like him so much. I have to mute him cause he never lets the game just play. He is talking over everything thinking he is the reason we tuned in. I tuned in for the game.

  9. We weren’t that happy with his in-game analysis either. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a coaching staff as poor at adjustments (or lack thereof) than his Washington staff. Clown!

  10. Tony Romo is entertaining. I prefer watching the games he’s calling. I can’t even give a specific reason why, but he is enjoyable.

  11. Romo was refreshing in his first season but over the last number of years he has gotten progressively worse. These days he rambles on constantly at a high words-per-minute pace and some of his commentary sounds like an overly-excited school kid.

  12. I enjoy watching the pre-snap formations and movement on offense and defense, and I try to predict what is about to happen. If someone with tons and tons more experience can do that with me as part of the TV broadcast, that’s pretty cool. It’s not always going to be right because teams spend a lot of effort to confuse and disguise their plays, and that’s ok.

  13. Wow, has he never heard his brother call a game?? Personally, I very much enjoy Tony Romo calling games. He’s a very likeable guy and it’s just fun to hear him in the booth. Just my opinion…

  14. “17 million a year for only being right 30% of the time is not a bad take in jay how much you making now???“

    You make a whole lot more in baseball for that type of success rate.

  15. How often do we hear any announcer be critical (honest) on a player. Rarely.
    Jay would be a breath of fresh air if he were to bring that to the booth.

  16. Romo shocked a lot of people when he stepped off the field and right into the number one analyst slot. I thought the networks were crazy. Then I listened to a game and thought, who’s this guy? Geez, he was awesome. He just gave insight into what the QB was thinking, and I learned a lot about why a play failed or succeeded. It was just the right amount. Then, it seemed like the networks saw the ratings and instructed Romo to turn it up a few nothches. I thought it became a little too overbearing, but I figured it wasn’t Romo’s decision, so I didn’t blame Tony. I really don’t pay attention to the part about predicting plays, anyway. I realize any ex-coach could do that fairly well. That wasn’t the reason I liked Romo. I liked him because he taught me a lot about the game. I got the same feelings listening to Chris Spielman. But also, there’s something to be said about star NFL QB’s becoming analysts.. It’s been going on forever. But Romo is one of a kind. He’s also a great golfer. The guy is one of those who just does everything a little better than everyone else. I understand where a lot of people would be jealous. It’s just human nature. I like Jay Gruden. But he thought he could go to Washington and win. So his ability to predict the future, and have a realistic view of the NFL is in question a little bit. I’m sure he’d probably be a decent analyst. Maybe the best. I don’t know. But Romo’s awesome. He’s not being paid all that money to predict plays before the snap. He’s being paid because he’s the best in his business. He’s a likable guy. That’s going to cause some jealousy too.

  17. I didn’t particularly care for Romo as a player – but that’s due in large part to the nauseating hype the Dallas franchise receives from the media. As an analyst however, he blends right in.

  18. In a shocking twist, Gruden is unemployed cause he couldn’t call the right plays🤷‍♂️

  19. It isn’t the routine play calling I enjoy so much, it’s the “oh sh*t, Jim” plays he sees coming that is so exciting and tells us what’s about to happen. Regardless, he’s the most entertaining announcer on TV right now and him and Jim paired up are great. Right now the announcing in the NFL is horrendous otherwise, ESPN being at the top of that list.

  20. The Grudens appear to be incredibly insecure people. Why would a football coach,for no apparent reason trash a color commentator. Like anything we all have our own taste in broadcasters. I think Nantz and Romo are great. But to each their own. But for Gruden to trash Romo publicly just shows his lack of character.

  21. Lol….Jay Gruden would NOT be great. He’s the Gruden nobody cares about. It would be a snoozefest. Terrible coach who has NO business talking football for viewers.

  22. Romo doesn’t come across as an arrogant jerk. I can’t say that about most of the other announcers. It’s that simple.

  23. Gruden would be an excellent broadcaster. He is much more laid back amd much less obnoxious than his brother and he has a dry wit that would work really well in the booth.

    He knows the game but was too disorganized to be a coach. Broadcasting could be his true calling

  24. I love listening to Romo. He seems like a guy you could drink a few beers at the beach bar with and have a great time.

  25. Perhaps Gruden should ask himself why people like Romo? Instead of gruden being so argumentative and unlikable, he should make more of an effort to be like Romo?

    He might not have ambition to become a broadcaster like Romo, but being more likable might help him get another job coaching? Probably not though. Gruden has likely burned any coaching bridges that would have ever become available unless his brother takes pity on him? Probably not with that one either. Even John Gruden dislikes Jay Gruden.

  26. Romo is terrible, talks too much and tries too hard to be cool. Gotta laugh at the commenters that don’t know why they like him. Really? He’s basically a con man, so I get why some like him.

  27. Wow salty take. I like Tony, and he’s right a lot of the time. And to be fair, TONY never said he was a genius. He just says what he thinks they are going to call. I love it. His reads and call outs really give a better feel for what’s happening.

  28. Like him or not Romo is unique in the way he analyzes a game and that is why he is the highest paid at what he does. I don’t know if Gruden is envious or not but Romo is popular because people relate to him and share his excitement during the game compared to most analysts who just relay cliches and obvious observations.

  29. as a life-long cowboys hater I never pulled for romo, nor really liked him, but nearly all fans are like me – they really know basically nothing about football and sit there stuffing their face and acting like they know something. tony is popular because he’s likeable and entertaining. I’d rather listen to him than the other options.

  30. Romo trying to guess the play all the time is what annoys me the most about his call of the games.

  31. Getting it right only 30% of the time now must be why he always used to throw those picks in critical moments since the DC could fool him.

  32. Jon Gruden is probably the most overrated head coach in NFL history and his only qualification was being on Holmgren’snstaff. Jay’s only qualification seems to be Jon’s charmless brother. He knows he’s not getting another coaching job unless it’s at a high school

  33. On a completely unrelated note, 99.9% of the population isn’t impressed with the coaching ability of Jay Gruden.

  34. “The reality remains that most game analysts can do it, and that most choose not to.”

    This is absolute manure. Most analysts have a difficult enough time describing a play AFTER it unfolded.

    Could Jay Gruden predict well? I sure hope so–He’s been an NFL OC and HC for years so if he can’t then he is even worse than his record indicates.

    But what Romo has that Gruden doesn’t– Personality and likeability. Despite all the jealousy by other sports media guys who have been in the game longer, Romo is instantly likable and makes the entire experience fun. Whining about “I could do that too!” shows that you don’t even understand the why in the first place.

  35. titans4evr says:
    February 6, 2021 at 11:54 am
    I love listening to Romo. He seems like a guy you could drink a few beers at the beach bar with and have a great time.
    Maybe, as long as you don’t want to do any of the talking.

  36. As a member of the millions… AND MILLIONS… of Dallas haters, I must say Romo is my favorite Dallas player of all time. I loved watching him choke away every chance Dallas had at glory during his career. From the fumbled chip shot field goal in Seattle, to the beach trip with Jessica Simpson before losing to the Giants, to the game losing INT in Washington vs RG3, to the season ending injuries… all just so so sweet!

    His media career mirrors his playing career: He had modest-but-unexpected success early his 1st year playing, then the media declared him king of football (because he had a star on his helmet), and then he turned out to be a loser. As a broadcaster, he had modest-but-unexpected success early and now he’s been exposed as a fraud.

    I’m no Gruden fan, but he did make Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins look like legit QBs when they were with him, and now we see both are mere back-ups, so at least Gruden has some real track record of success as a coach. If he were doing the broadcast instead of Romo (or Aikman, or Collingsworth) then at least maybe I wouldn’t have to put the game on mute the entire time!

  37. “I could do that if I wanted to” is one of the oldest and lamest takes around.

    “The reality remains that most game analysts can do it, and that most choose not to” is nonsense unless and until proven otherwise. We the viewers can see that most game analysts are barely hanging on and offer little insight, and the idea that pretty much every analyst in NFL history has just been holding back their genius is spectacularly implausible.

    Romo’s analysis has been a huge hit and big publicity draw for CBS. There’s a clear incentive for others to do it now, yet no one is. That’s the real evidence.

    As for Gruden… if he could do it as well as he thinks he can, his coaching record wouldn’t have been so terrible.

  38. Romo is annoying AF and that voice is just the worst…Then paired with Nantz who is also terrible. Seriously how is kevin Harlan number 2 at CBS? He should be calling the games and Charles Davis paired with him. ian Eagle is also way better at calling games than nantz. Nantz is good for Golf i guess. or maybe he should take up guided meditations.

  39. realfootballfan says:
    February 6, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Getting it right only 30% of the time now must be why he always used to throw those picks in critical moments since the DC could fool him.


    As a Cowboys fan, I say yes, it was such a regularly painful experience. But Romo’s career was defined by running for his life behind a disastrous offensive line. If he’s had the kind of line that Prescott was blessed with, I sincerely believe they’d have won a Super Bowl. Romo wasn’t as sharp or clean as Mahomes but he had some key similarities in his style.

  40. I Couldn’t stand Romo while playing. Standing on the sidelines wearing his hat on backwards etc.. I thought he was tryin to be a pretty boy! But he was one heck of a QB and possibly an even better Announcer!!!

  41. Used to enjoy listening to Romo, now he has become so one sided with certain teams and officiating blunders that he shows how obvious he favors certain teams and players. Romo, call the game as it plays out. Not what your opinion is of a player or a team or a penalty. Just call the game as you see it!!!!!!! Is that too much to ask??

  42. I watch all NFL games with no sound. If it was radio I would have to listen to follow it right, however I do have eyes that still work therefore I do not need no stinking sound while watching.
    Not claiming to be an expert however I know enough about sports and competition to know what is going on. And on rare occasions if I do turn on the sound I find that the announcers are not usually talking about much that I find relevant to the actual game. Therefore I can gain more insight into the game by watching without the distraction of announcers.

  43. I like listening to Romo. He just sounds like a extremely knowledgeable fan enjoying the game. The prognostication thing is just an extension of having fun with it.
    Gruden just sounds envious. Understandably. Romo is well liked and earning a gazillion dollars a year.

  44. If Jay gets the job he better be ready in the booth then talking like that lol.

    But in reality yeah true fans know it’s not that impressive, it’s not like Romo is a psychic, a lot of other QBs and players, and obv coaches, can do it. But Romo didn’t just get popular because of his predictions, he just has a natural way in the booth and you just like listening to him. A guy could be 100% right but if he doesn’t have that booth presence then I don’t really care to have him announce games.

  45. I think Jay Gruden would be an excellent commentator. Very colorful and an effective communicator. Give it a shot, Jay.

  46. LMAO, but these OTHER guys certainly like to play refree. Let do away with the ref’s and let the booth guys call the penalties! I’ll listen to Tony’s version any day

  47. Funny thing is Jay Gruden is only 11% right on his play calling.
    Maybe that is why Jacksonville has the first pick in the draft

  48. Issue is, Romo’s really good at announcing….Gruden’s probably, if the relationship to his coaching skills matters….

  49. Personally I like Romo’s delivery, I also like Major League, Caddyshack and Tin Cup..I’d take Romo/Nantz over Buck and Aikman’s stiff shirt dry style any day

  50. If his last name wasn’t Gruden the only NFL job he would have is hawking beer and hotdogs on gameday!

  51. Romo is not all bad. He made his contract happen so good for him. Kirk Cousins is a consistent top 10 quarterback that is durable, doesn’t WHINE for calls and in his playoff games has delivered good passes. His coaches actually trusted him to throw big passes to beat the Saints a year ago. KC doesn’t moan and complain and create unnecessary drama like a lot of high profile quarterbacks. I’m glad that he plays for the Vikings!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.