The biggest broadcast storyline of Week 1 was the debut of Tony Romo as lead NFL analyst for CBS alongside Jim Nantz. Romo was basically doing the broadcast equivalent of what Dak Prescott did by starting as a rookie in the most high profile situation in the industry.
With so many interested observers watching Romo to see how he performed in his broadcast debut and so many expectations on him both internally at CBS and externally, it was going to be maybe the most important announcing debut in quite some time.
Not only did Romo get a passing grade, he aced his debut. Nearly all of the reviews of his work were glowing with many viewers and writers appreciating his enthusiasm, insights, and ability to predict plays before they happened. Here are a sample of those reviews from around the internet and social media.
First, Sports Illustrated:
I thought Romo was good, and very good in spots. He was right in the X’s and O’s, properly enthusiastic (particularly about Marshawn Lynch’s physicality) and spoke in the kinds of informative staccato bursts that are essential for network color guys. Occasionally, his voice broke, but other than that, Romo sounded like he’d done this before.
SB Nation pointed out Romo’s clairvoyance as a major plus:
It’s nice to be loved by Twitter and be better than TV’s worst color commentator, but his most impressive feat was predicting the future, one play at a time.
He calls a safety blitz in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, he pegged a run to the left. He called audibles, explained the rationale for fourth down thinking and walked us through why the Raiders should’ve taken timeouts on defense at the end of the first half (so the offense would have more time).
Here’s a video of many of those plays that Romo dissected for viewers at home, correctly predicting what the offense and defense was going to do at various times.
And Yahoo Sports appreciated Romo’s contemporary football knowledge and enthusiasm:
Romo brought enthusiasm to a job that’s all too often treated as Serious Football Business. More to the point, he brought a recent veteran QB’s knowledge of defensive formations and offensive tendencies, which he broke down time and again before the snap.
Perhaps Romo’s most impressive feat was winning over all of the would-be critics on Twitter because Twitter hates everything. Everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Jemele Hill was full of praise for the former Cowboys quarterback.
"I've got $5 this is a run to the left."
Romo already creating a broadcasting legacy betting on plays before they happen…and being right. pic.twitter.com/PWRf754qBM
— Joey Hayden (@_joeyhayden) September 10, 2017
nice job by the rookie @TonyRomo calling his first game – oftentimes before the plays even happened
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) September 10, 2017
Can't ever remember gaining as much strategic insight from announcers as I have from Romo in just over one quarter. https://t.co/jZUxYjHcqi
— Dan Turner (@dtsturner) September 10, 2017
Tony Romo is really, really good at this. Incredibly informative and he’s already predicted a few play calls today. Lots of energy.
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) September 10, 2017
As I thought, @tonyromo is excellent in the booth. Energetic, knowledgeable, concise, likeable. And will only get better.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) September 10, 2017
Tony Romo calling out safety blitzes before the snap and pointing out that the Raiders ran on third down to go for it on fourth down. ?
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 10, 2017
Really enjoying @tonyromo in the broadcast booth. He's been insightful, and sharp.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 10, 2017
CBS took a huge gamble by placing someone who was a rookie into their most important spot. But if Week 1 is any indication, the network has hit a home run with Tony Romo.