Photo credit: CBS

Tony Romo fields plenty of criticism about his analysis and preparation, but the lead NFL analyst for CBS reminded everyone he is a genius.

Romo and play-by-play voice Jim Nantz were on the call for the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers Week 18 matchup Sunday afternoon. And while fans may have expected a few Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre references as they pertain to current Packers quarterback Jordan Love, Romo offered up a couple of references that fans surely didn’t expect to hear.

Early in the second half, Love completed a 17-yard pass to wide receiver Bo Melton off a throw that had Romo feeling some kind of way in the booth.

“Watch his leverage when he throws this ball,” Romo said with excitement as he watched a replay of Love’s pass. “He throws it in a phone booth, Jim! It’s about a 30-yard throw for the Pythagorean theorem. That probably didn’t actually make sense there.”

As if the phone booth reference wasn’t surprising enough, Romo came out and followed it up with the Pythagorean theorem? “Throws it in a phone booth” usually refers to a quarterback who stands upright and short arms a pass, but why was Romo talking about triangles?

“Can you explain that?” Nantz asked.

Attempting to put it into layman’s terms, Romo explained, “a2 + b2 = c2, which means Jordan Love is good.”

There’s the insightful analysis everyone has been looking for from the lead CBS NFL analyst in recent years. The explanation didn’t clarify why Romo referenced the mathematical rule, but at least he offered a brief synopsis of the theorem to excite math teachers everywhere.

“You’re a genius,” Nantz stated.

If anything, Romo may have slightly undersold how far Love threw this. The throw went from just to the left of the right hash to just to the right of the left sideline. That particular hash-to-sideline distance is 89 feet and three inches, or almost 30 yards; call that cross-field distance a and call it 29 yards. This was a 17-yard completion with no notable after-catch gain, so call that downfield distance b and call it 17 yards. Plug that into a handy Pythagorean calculator and you get c, the hypotenuse (or diagonal of the downfield and cross-field distance), being 33.6 yards. And that’s in two dimensions; the ball also had to go up, adding further distance. Love’s furthest measured air yardage on Sunday was 37.1 yards, which may have been on this play. But in any case, Romo’s 30-yard estimate certainly wasn’t bad for an on-the-fly Pythagorean calculation.

Math teachers may have been proud to hear Romo mention the Pythagorean theorem, but Jason Garrett probably deserves some credit for the reference. When he was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Garrett preached the importance of players understanding the rule, believing it should help with their route running.

“We talked about Pythagorus and it’s been going for the last few days,” Garrett said in 2013.

More than ten years later, Romo is still talking about Pythagorus.

[CBS]