Brent Mus

While hosting his My Guys in the Desert radio show on SiriusXM’s Vegas Sports and Information channel, broadcast legend Brent Musburger weighed in on Tony Romo’s early work as CBS’s lead NFL analyst.

Romo’s calling card, so far, has been his ability and willingness to predict the forthcoming play pre-snap.

Brent Musburger, though, is very much not impressed by that particular skill, nor the frequency with which Romo deploys it:

“Tony, get off it, okay? First of all, you’re intruding on your play-by-play man Jim Nantz, who’s just trying to give us the scene…we like to watch the game, okay? And you’re not gonna be…here’s a memo, to all the people who are like ‘Oh, this is great!’…uh-uh. It’s not going to happen. And the further…the more years you spend away from the league, you’re going to know less and less about the personnel that’s out on the field. So I’m blowing a ‘stop the hype’, okay, right now.”

That’s a pretty strong condemnation from Musburger, who’s certainly earned the right to analyze and critique a football broadcast. And his points aren’t without merit; Romo’s act could certainly wear thin, and as we’ve seen, analysts do tend to be at their best when they’re freshly out of the sport. That’s generally wielded in the positive sense, to praise new hires, but it stands to reason that the inverse is also true.

However, having watched a fair bit of Romo’s Week 2 call, it didn’t seem to be pervasive, or all that intrusive. It wasn’t every play, and it’s hard to imagine that Romo is harder on Nantz as a partner than Phil Simms was; Nantz practically needed a block and tackle to lift Simms’s dead weight through every broadcast. In fact, Nantz sounds as giddy as and loose as he’s ever sounded on the air.

It’s also a bit unfair to reduce Romo’s analysis to just these predictions; at one point during the Patriots-Saints game, during a replay Romo broke down a Tom Brady pre-snap read, utilizing the kind of insight that you really do only get from recently employed players. It was similar to Peyton Manning’s stop in the Sunday Night Football booth last season:

So, in the end, there’s merit on both sides. Musburger is right in that anything that overpowers the game is generally not a good idea, and it could become shtick very easily. On the other hand, it’s clearly a unique twist, and anything that gets Romo to feel comfortable and offer more insight in ways the viewer can understand is a good thing. It’s all about finding the right balance.

Let’s not lose sight of Romo’s most important asset, though: he’s not Phil Simms.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

  • MetaphysicalMan

    I agree. How does it enrich the viewing experience at all to know what a play is going to be two seconds before we see it happen? What response can we have other than ‘ooohh Romo’s smart’. Tell us WHY that play was called after the fact, that is actual analysis that gives the viewer more insight into the game.

    • William

      For a lot of it, he does exactly like you ask – he tells us why the play will happen, but tells us *before* it happens so we can watch it unfold. Examples are in the clip above – more than a few of them.

  • James Johnson

    Musburger is just upset people have moved on from him. He sounds like the girl who dated in high school broke up with a guy for going to different college and then the guy moves back and becomes successful with a new woman while her glory days were high school.

  • eireanch33

    To review … on air ogling of women young enough to be your great-granddaughter? A-ok! Tipping plays? Verbotten!

  • Parts

    I have not missed ol Brent calling games one bit. Stick to the point spreads, over unders and prop bets there buddy. Folks are doing just fine without you.

  • Mark Matthieu

    Romo is the best thing to happen to the NFL. Finally someone tries to give us detailed inside info instead of fluff about the QBs girlfriend or something stupid

  • Ryan Kaufman

    So in a decade when Romo isn’t as familiar with the game, he’ll have a decade’s worth of experience.

    But nah it’s because everyone likes Romo, a lot. If the youtube videos and constant praise wasn’t happening, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. I’m hoping the NFL doesn’t lift a single finger to stop it, but who knows. They don’t really care what we think anymore. Gotta keep the old boys happy.

  • Johnathan Pertolick

    Brent Musburger is almost 80 and is intimidated by the next generation of sportscasting.

    He’s been doing it forever, it’s HIS thing.

    And for some kid half his age to get praise for doing it in a different way?

    It demonstrates to Brent, more clearly than anything, the changing of the eras and the passing of the guard. Brent isn’t quite ready to accept his age his impending replacement, nor is he ready to accept that an entire generation of new NFL fans have grown up in a different world, more connected, informed and often intelligent world.

    We care about the nuance that our parents generation never wanted to hear about.

    Our parents put back a 6 pack and cheer, we play madden for hours prior to kick off, carefully working our way through playbooks, practicing identify defensive packages pre-snap, and have a deep appreciation for the strategy.

    To us — Romo is incredible.

    But to an 78 year old man, intimidated by a new generation? I can see why he complains.

  • Mark D. Hauser

    Tony Romo is a breath of fresh and has the potential to be the best game analyst in the NFL ever — Musburger sounds just plain silly and jealous (I am not a Cowboys fan).

  • UnaMas80

    I don’t consider it predicting in the sense that he’s not guessing. He sees the same thing the QB on the field sees and tells us WHY.