Tony Romo suffered through several postseason disappointments in his playing days with the Cowboys. But he’s delivered arguably his worst January performances in the announcing booth this month for CBS.
Six years into his broadcasting career, Romo is getting exposed. He’s all schtick and little substance.
Romo was awful yet again Sunday during Bengals-Bills, offering up noises and nonsense throughout the affair. Just one week after prematurely labeling Josh Allen “Mr. January,” Romo continued to offer up grandiose praise of the Bills passer, even following errant throws. When Allen missed Stefon Diggs in the end zone in the third quarter, Romo said it was a “perfectly thrown ball,” besides the fact it was “a little wide.”
Romo’s sloppy performance stood in stark contrast to Greg Olsen, the recently retired tight end who’s Fox’ No. 1 analyst — at least until Tom Brady and his reported $37.5 million salary comes along and shoves him aside. Olsen was sharp throughout Cowboys-49ers, and came up big late in the game, when it’s crucial for analysts to stay on top of the action.
When the Cowboys inexplicably took their time to punt with the two-minute warning approaching, Olsen called out Mike McCarthy for not managing the game properly. Dallas lost 39 seconds before Bryan Anger punted the ball away, giving the 49ers possession with 2:05 remaining. As a result, the Cowboys were forced to use their timeouts after the two-minute whistle, instead of before, which would’ve left more time on the clock.
With the two-minute warning approaching, the 49ers actually threw the ball on first down, as Brock Purdy found Greg Kittle for a 16-yard gain. Olsen correctly pointed out the 49ers were correct to try that, since the clock was going to stop anyway.
Olsen is also comfortable explaining advanced statistics, such as CPOE (completion percentage ever expected). Late in the fourth quarter, Olsen pointed out that Dak Prescott’s CPOE was -14.7-percent, meaning the Cowboys QB was completing 14.7-percent fewer passer than the baseline average against pressure.
Romo, meanwhile, incorrectly labeled the “play clock” as the “shot clock.”
Romo was a revelation when took over for Phil Simms in 2017. Throughout Romo’s first few seasons, he often predicted plays before they happened and could instantly call out defenses. One of his high points was the 2019 AFC Championship between the Patriots and Chiefs. Romo was clairvoyant during New England’s epic fourth-quarter comeback win, making Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo look foolish in the process.
Now, Romo is the one who looks silly. When he started with CBS, he could rely on his institutional knowledge and first-hand experiences, since many of the players and defenses were the same from his playing days.
Now six years removed from his playing career, that’s no longer the case. Romo must study if he wants to stay sharp.
Instead, he’s just offering hot air.