Credit: CBS

Super Bowl LVIII is in the books and so is CBS’ broadcast of the game featuring Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, and Tracy Wolfson. Let’s take a closer look at how things went and hand out some grades.


Going into Super Bowl LVIII, there were concerns among CBS executives that Tony Romo would trend for all the wrong reasons. Outgoing CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus admitted as much, stating that the network has appealed to him to “calm down” during the Kansas City Chiefs-San Francisco 49ers broadcast.

The former quarterback did show some enthusiasm after CBS’ great opening, which used Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” with parents paying tribute to their sons playing Sunday’s big game.

After Jim Nantz introduced himself, Romo said, “If that doesn’t get you ready to go, I don’t know … I’m ready to get out of this booth!”

And with that, Nantz and Romo were off and running. As the game began, it appeared that Romo was following the network’s script by focusing on the action and not letting himself get too high or low. He seemed to be having fun in the booth. At one point, when discussing San Francisco’s special teams’ play in the first half, Romo noted “They’re flying around out there, you can feel it, cantcha, Jim?”

Rather than raising his voice several octaves during big plays, Romo saved it for his singing, at one point going to a commercial break while squeaking his way through Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

That would not be the last time Romo took us into a break while singing, later busting out Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas.”

And there was his attempt to become the fourth Beastie Boy with a bit of “Fight For Your Right (To Party).”

Romo said about Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce, “He’s ready to party actually … hold onto this one.”

“Well, you’ve got to fight for your right, you know, right?” Nantz replied gleefully.

“Par-teehhh,” responded Romo, weakly.

Singing aside, Romo’s first-half analysis was mostly spot on. He was quick in pointing out that the Niners’ defense made Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable in the pocket.  Stating that Mahomes’ internal clock was running fast, Romo was quick to point out that would be rectified in the second half (He was right).

Romo’s only first-half demerits include misidentifying Niners defensive lineman Nick Bosa as “Joey,” which, in the heat of the moment, is a mistake anyone could have made.

Perhaps a more legitimate gripe from viewers came during a replay that showed Travis Kelce yelling at, and bumping into, coach Andy Reid. Both Nantz and Romo were criticized for seemingly downplaying the incident.

In the third quarter, Romo got off on the right foot. He was quick to point out that a 49ers special teams mistake occurred after a punt went off the toe of Darrell Luter forcing punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud to try and make a play.

Late in the third quarter, two people ran onto the field. Nantz and Romo discussed it briefly, but the ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterback quickly put a kibosh on it.

As San Francisco was driving downfield for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, Romo quickly pointed out that Niners tight end George Kittle got a first down over Jim Nantz, who thought he had been stopped short. It felt at first like Romo was overstepping but he was proven correct.

Romo also recognized that as the game was progressing, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy’s inexperience was coming into play. In particular, the Niners quarterback called a hasty timeout as the clock was winding down in a situation that Romo said could have been avoided by a veteran who would have known to change the protection package.

His further points on situational football were spot on, especially questioning why Patrick Mahomes ran the ball in the middle of the field during the game-tying drive but didn’t spike the ball right afterward, which would have saved valuable time.

Had the game ended in regulation, Romo would have been judged to have had a good game. However, in overtime, he twice stated that a dropped interception and a potential touchdown by the Niners would have “won the Super Bowl,” which was incorrect given the new Super Bowl overtime rules.

Plus, Romo stepped all over the winning score after Mecole Hardman caught a touchdown pass from Mahomes to seal Super Bowl LVIII.

“And this was the Andy Reid special! This is the Andy Reid special! We talked about it, he was saving all day! He’s going to fake a motion to go across … and at that moment, he turns and goes back,” yelled Romo. “Hardman who they didn’t have, right? And they go get Hardman and bring him back! And the game-winning drive of Mahomes’ career! He’s been waiting for it … he’s never had it in an overtime. He is the best! He is the standard! Michael Jordan wins it again.”

Romo needs to know that this was not the moment to break down how the play happened. That’s for regular touchdowns. This was a Super Bowl-winning score. The moment didn’t need anything other than to just be. Romo’s exuberance and childlike excitement got the better of him here.


For his part, Nantz was on top of the action, especially on the game-winning score by Hardman.

“1st and goal. Mahomes. Slings it. They score! Hardman! Jackpot, Kansas City!”

It was a classic call from Nantz. Unfortunately, Romo did not let the moment breathe.


We’ve talked a lot about Romo but what about the rest of CBS’ production?

CBS had 165 cameras for Super Bowl LVIII, including six in the goalposts hoping to capture a field goal “doink.” Unfortunately, the only miss on a kick was a blocked extra point and then a kickoff that hit the goal post.

Because of all those cameras, they were able to get a quick replay of Dre Greenlaw falling to the Allegiant Stadium turf following a punt. It was later reported that Greenlaw tore his Achilles, forcing him to miss the rest of the game.

CBS also unveiled a new “TOUCHDOWN” graphic after scores by both teams. It was similar to the Nickelodeon graphics but didn’t go overboard with slime cannons.

CBS also had a reverse skycam angle replay that showed a 49ers touchdown which Nantz and Romo felt was slow to develop.

CBS used that angle a few times during the game. This was one of the better uses of technology.

Overall, CBS had a very good production. Nantz called a good game (aside from thinking Kittle didn’t make the first down and downplaying the Kelce-Reid argument on the sidelines). He always rises to the occasion and knows the right button to put on the moment.

I did not count how many shots CBS had of Taylor Swift. I’m sure someone did, but I did not think the cutaways to her were gratuitous (nor have they been all season).

Aside from that. rules analyst Gene Steratore was kept mostly to a minimum while kicking analyst Jay Feely noted that Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker was making kicks as long as 70 yards in practice, which was pretty relevant to what happened.


Play-by-play — B
Analysis — C
Sideline reporting — B
Production — A

Romo was having a decent game until overtime. It could have been better. CBS’ production was spot on. So was Nantz.

Next year, it’s back to Fox. You’re up, Tom Brady.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.