Tony Romo on CBS Photo credit: CBS

The Super Bowl is an important call for any NFL analyst, but maybe even more important for Tony Romo considering the amount of scrutiny he’s been under.

After taking the NFL by storm in 2017, Romo has lost some of his allure as a broadcaster in recent years as the criticism being directed at him has only been ratcheted up this season. And while CBS Sports chair Sean McManus believes most of that criticism is “undeserved,” the longtime executive also recognizes Romo isn’t perfect.

McManus joined Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s SiriusXM radio show Thursday afternoon ahead of CBS hosting Super Bowl LVIII this weekend with Romo and Jim Nantz on the call. During the interview, Russo, who is often one of Romo’s harshest critics, asked McManus to assess the network’s lead NFL analyst.

“He’s not your meat and potatoes analyst,” McManus said. “He’s more of a fan. He gets excited. We sometimes say to him, ‘Hey, calm down a little bit because you do get too into the game.’ Which I think is a plus. But I think generally speaking, people really enjoy listening to Nantz and Romo and Tracy [Wolfson]…When social media starts to turn, it really turns and it becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy and the people who really like Tony tend not to tweet. It’s mostly the negative…and right now they’re all focused on Tony Romo.”

McManus is right. Social media isn’t always the best barometer because of its tendency to encourage a snowball effect on negative commentary. But admitting Romo has been reminded to “calm down a little bit,” whether that advice be from an executive or producer, gives credence to some of the criticism the former quarterback has received.

“I think he’s working his rear end off. I think the fact that he’s not prepared is not fair,” McManus added, countering some of Romo’s critics like Colin Cowherd and even Russo. After Romo’s call of the Divisional Round playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills last month, Russo railed against the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback for mixing up two historic NFL plays in the Holy Roller and the Immaculate Reception.

“Did that bother you as the boss of CBS?” Russo asked McManus.

“A little bit. Yeah,” McManus admitted. “In the excitement of what was going on, he did conflate the two a little bit. He’s on the air for three and a half hours nonstop, he’s got replays coming at him and he’s got this, and I’m sure he’d like to have that one back. Of course he would. But we all make mistakes in life and when you’re the former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys…and then you go to calling a game with 50 or 56 million people, you’re not gonna be perfect. And we don’t expect perfection.”

It’s hard to say this weekend’s Super Bowl is more important for Romo than it has been for any other analyst. Greg Olsen was working under a lot of pressure last year and Tom Brady will undoubtedly feel it next season for Fox. Every announcer gets put under the microscope during a Super Bowl, regardless of whether or not they’re entering the event as a fan favorite. But for Romo, Super Bowl LVIII represents an opportunity to silence his critics by avoiding some of the histrionic theatrics fans have grown to dislike in recent years.


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