Tony Romo is in his sixth full season as the color analyst in the No. 1 NFL on CBS booth. During that time, Romo has often been known for pre-snap predictions on specific plays, which some love (it’s not entirely about that, but Romo and play-by-play partner Jim Nantz topped our reader-voted NFL announcing booth polls in 2018, 2019, and 2020, the last three years we’ve done those) and some hate. It’s more unusual to see him predict a specific final score and get it exactly, though. And that’s what he did in Sunday’s Bills–Chiefs game:
"This is not going to be a high-scoring game, Jim. …This is going to be a 24-20 type of a game." Tony Romo called the exact Bills-Chiefs score in the first quarter of that game. pic.twitter.com/kLmA89gVYA
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 17, 2022
“This is not going to be a high-scoring game, Jim. Because these two defenses are going to make you drive the field. The clock’s going to run a lot because they’re going to be consistently checking it down and running the football. Every once in a while, you’ll get a big play. But this is going to be a 24-20 type of a game, maybe 30 if somebody goes off.”
That game finished up as a 24-20 win for the Bills following some late heroics from Josh Allen. So Romo called the score exactly. But that comment would have been notable even if this was just a correct prediction that this game would be low-scoring. Between Allen and Patrick Mahomes, there was a lot of quarterback star power on the field for this one, and these teams last combined for a 42-36 Chiefs’ OT win in the AFC Championship Game in January and a 38-20 Bills’ regular-season win last December. The consensus over-under was 53.5, so Romo’s prediction of 44 total points was well below that. But he sure proved right here.
The overall debate about Romo as a broadcaster is not settled. While many (including the aforementioned AA readers who voted him and Nantz as the top booth from 2018-20, and this particular writer, who named him and Nantz as the current top NFL booth this preseason) think he’s great, that opinion isn’t universal. Former NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol even went off on Romo (for some reason not immediately apparent) this past week in an interview with Chris Wallace, saying Romo “does not seem to be the storyteller that he should be” and “clearly has lost his passion for it.” (Ebersol later apologized, blaming “a long day of interviews.”) But for at least some of us, insightful commentary on what’s likely to actually happen in a game is better than any kind of “storyteller” approach that old-school executives like Ebersol unnecessarily fawn over. And Romo certainly delivered that in spades Sunday.
[Awful Announcing on Twitter; photo from John Paul Filo/CBS]