Over the past few years, there have been a few instances of broadcasters finding out on-air that they’ve been elected into a Hall of Fame, from Joe Buck to Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson (all Pro Football Hall of Fame) to Dan Patrick (National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame). CBS play-by-play voice Jim Nantz tried to make this happen during the network’s Chicago Bears-New Orleans Saints playoff broadcast Sunday, telling analyst Tony Romo that he’d been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame (for his 2000-02 career at Eastern Illinois, where he threw for 7,816 yards and 82 touchdowns with 34 interceptions). But unfortunately for Nantz and CBS’ chances of an organic learned-on-air moment, Romo (who was calling this game from Dallas due to COVID-19 protocols) said that the ball giving him the official news was delivered yesterday:
Jim Nantz talks with Tony Romo about Romo's selection for the College Football Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/OsYNwApxPP
— The Comeback NFL (@TheComebackNFL) January 11, 2021
“There should be a football arriving at your house this weekend, because congratulations, tomorrow’s going to be the announcement, for the class of 2021 for the College Football Hall of Fame, and you, my friend, are going to be a part of it.” “You sure it’s me? Didn’t mess up, it’s not somebody else here? Nah, I appreciate it, and it’s an honor. That ball actually came yesterday, Jim, and my kids grabbed it and started playing with it, and I was like ‘Hold on! Give me that back! I think that one might be important!'”
That was still a cool moment for CBS, and a good story from Romo. But it’s funny to see the learned-on-air revelation spoiled by an efficient delivery, and one Romo might not have received if he’d been at this game as planned instead of at home.