With the unprecedented amount of changeover that occurred in NFL broadcast booths during the offseason, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo are now the longest-tenured lead crew at their current network.
That’s a surprising stat, considering Nantz and Romo entered the offseason as the third most tenured booth behind Fox and NBC. But with Al Michaels moving from NBC to Amazon to join Kirk Herbstreit for Thursday Night Football and the Joe Buck –Troy Aikman tandem going to ESPN from Fox, Nantz and Romo have now been with CBS longer than any other lead team as they enter their sixth season together.
Nantz joined The Rich Eisen Show this week and claimed he knew the partnership with Romo was going to be a success story, despite media critics believing otherwise when CBS nabbed the Dallas Cowboys quarterback to replace Phil Simms as their lead analyst.
"He'll be very well prepared, that goes without saying."
People were unsure how @tonyromo would be at calling #NFL games but Jim Nantz knew he'd be a home run and the @CBSSports voice has a similar feeling about @TomBrady:#NFL #GoBucs pic.twitter.com/5PiR1rrJkq
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 17, 2022
“I never had a doubt that he would be a genius at this,” Nantz told Eisen. “I had a lot of folks in the media who would call me up and say, ‘How’s he gonna be?’ I said, ‘Listen, you could be on the right side of history if you want, I guarantee you he’s going to be a star…he might be the best that’s ever done this.’ I know it, I only got 30 years’ experience.”
According to Nantz, not one person took his advice to predict Romo as a success story when he was hired in 2017.
Romo went directly from the playing field to the broadcast booth in 2017 and he became an instant star for his perceptive ability to predict plays before they happened. Romo’s unique style may have lost a bit of its luster in recent years, but it’s hard to argue against his tenure with CBS being a major success story.
“Looking at one another, face to face, I’ve never broadcast like this before,” Nantz continued. “That’s the way Tony likes to do it. Sure the field is right below us, but when we’re actually talking on the air, we’re actually making eye contact. We’re not looking down at the field without making eye contact, we’re looking angled at each other. I think that’s part of the secret sauce.”
CBS made Romo the highest paid TV analyst in 2020, paving way for other sports broadcasters to similarly seek annual salaries north of $10 million. The money and prestige that now comes with being a lead NFL analyst also influenced Fox and Tom Brady to reach a stunning contract, reportedly worth $375 million that will begin whenever the 44-year-old quarterback decides to retire. And just like he had with Romo, Nantz has similarly high expectations for Brady.
“I’m thrilled that he’s going to have a voice in the sport,” Nantz said of Brady. “I think what’s happened here recently is that everybody has realized that that platform, being an elite analyst on one of the very few, handful of packages in the NFL, it’s a big deal. And you’re extremely relevant and people are listening to everything you say. And Tom will be up to the challenge.”