Jim Nantz and Tony Romo

Tony Romo may have lost some of his luster with NFL fans and media analysts. But that isn’t the case with his perception from his CBS broadcast partner Jim Nantz.

After taking the NFL broadcast world by storm during his rookie season as an analyst in 2017 and earning a historic $180 million contract from CBS in 2020, Romo’s popularity as a commentator wavered in recent years. Last season, Romo’s apparent regression was routinely highlighted by fans and media analysts, particularly in the playoffs. But Romo still has a big supporter in Nantz, who recently joined Jimmy Traina’s Sports Illustrated Media Podcast and claimed he didn’t understand the widespread criticism for Romo:

Nantz noted he thought the recent influx of Romo backlash was fueled by people who cover the industry. “I think there was a little bit of a misinformation attempt there to portray him in a not so favorable light,” Nantz told Traina. “It was very disappointing.”

“For the life of me, I didn’t understand it,” Nantz continued of Romo’s criticism. “Tony is the best. He’s the absolute best and he’s also one of my best friends. And when somebody starts questioning our chemistry, there’s an agenda there. There is nothing wrong with our chemistry, I have never had better chemistry with anybody in my career than Tony.”

Last year, former NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol was a loud Romo critic, blasting the CBS analyst for not developing as a broadcaster. Ebersol later walked back his criticism and strangely blamed it on having a long day of interviews.

Andrew Marchand of The New York Post furthered the budding Romo criticism when he claimed the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback needed to be better prepared, and reported CBS attempted to have an “intervention” with their lead NFL analyst. CBS later stated “intervention” was a “mischaracterization” of their meeting with Romo, which may have been the “misinformation” Nantz alluded to during his appearance on Traina’s podcast.

“Where was all this outcry during the season?” Nantz asked. “Tony’s amazing. Don’t ask everybody to be the same, by the way. Tony does it his own way…Tony has his way of watching a game and it’s fun. There’s an excitement, it’s real. Our friendship is real.”

Just as the internet may have been too quick to crown Romo as the best analyst in 2017, it unfairly attempted to paint him as the worst analyst during the 2022 season. Romo may have regressed and may need to make some adjustments to get better, but he’s not as bad as the internet attempted to claim last season.

Internet narratives can misrepresent public opinion. Hating on Joe Buck used to be the “cool” thing to do. And last year, social media latched onto the narrative that Bob Costas forgot how to call a baseball game. The Romo backlash, however, wasn’t just another example of the internet taking cheap shots, it was given credence by people in the industry, people who Nantz believes have an unspecified “agenda.”

[Sports Illustrated Media Podcast]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com