As soon as Dick Ebersol realized his criticism of Tony Romo came across as rather harsh, the former NBC Sports executive attempted to assure us he’s Tony Romo’s “biggest fan.”
Ebersol joined Chris Wallace on HBO Max as a guest for the CNN anchor’s series Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? The latest interviews from the series are slated to be released in full Friday, but a recent preview clip featured Ebersol blasting Romo’s announcing chops.
“I’ve known Tony Romo, since he first got to the pros,” Ebersol said in the preview clip obtained by Mediaite. “He’s an unbelievably engaging guy, he should have been a terrific, great broadcaster. Something’s happened since he got into that chair. And it doesn’t seem like he’s into it. Like he was on his way up. He does not seem to be the storyteller that he should be. The thing that makes [Al] Michaels great and [Joe] Buck great, and all these guys are they’re really, they’re really storytellers. And Tony has gotten further and further away from that I think.”
Recognizing Ebersol’s assessment of Romo crossed the line of constructive criticism, Wallace asked the NFL broadcasting legend if he had anyone else to make controversial comments about.
“No, but this is one that this is somebody who should be an announcer for the ages, but clearly has lost his passion for it,” Ebersol continued. “And I would have him in my office often not to kick his ass, but just to keep reminding him of what put him there in the first place.”
Telling Wallace he wouldn’t “kick (Romo’s) ass” may have been the nicest thing Ebersol had to say about the former NFL quarterback. Romo has a $180 million contract with CBS that runs through 2030 and Ebersol is talking about him as if he’s already a failed NFL analyst. A failed analyst who Ebersol believes he could “cure” if given the chance to be his producer for six months and he would do it by sparking more passion out of Romo? While Romo certainly isn’t for everyone, few fans or analysts have asked the CBS analyst to offer more passion alongside his broadcast partner Jim Nantz.
Without being pressed, Ebersol had the foresight to recognize “I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of phone calls and notes and stuff like that. But that is how I feel,” referring to his analysis of Romo. Despite doubling down with “that is how I feel,” Ebersol later sent a statement to the New York Post attempting to claim he does not really believe his previously portrayed feelings on Romo.
“Tony Romo is like a son to me,” Ebersol said in his statement to The Post. “I am truly his biggest fan on and off the field. As a fan and a producer, I have always been known to offer up unsolicited notes. But this time, after a long day of interviews, I went too far and frankly said things that I do not believe and are simply not true.
“No announcer is more passionate about the NFL than Tony Romo, and I personally cannot wait to hear his call this and every Sunday. He is as good as it gets.”
After a long day of interviews, Ebersol had enough perception to justly predict, “I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of phone calls,” regarding his assessment of Romo. But according to the former NBC Sports executive, he didn’t have enough awareness to properly convey his unsolicited notes. Everyone will just have to use their own judgment to decipher how Ebersol really feels about Romo.