Tony Romo captured NFL viewers during his first season as the play-by-play broadcaster for CBS alongside Jim Nantz, offering colorful commentary, insightful analysis and more than a few hilarious calls.
Nantz discussed his first year with Romo at last week’s NCAA Tournament media session, noting that the chemistry with Romo was as natural as it comes.
“Chemistry’s a word that people who make hires and decisions say, ‘Hey, you guys go out and work on your chemistry!'” Nantz told USA TODAY”s For The Win. “I spent time with him to have a chemistry before the arranged marriage by CBS. It’s just a really fond memories of our first year together and I feel we’re just getting started. And we have a Super Bowl this year.”
Part of Romo’s success was due to his ability to recognize formations, shifts and tendencies before the snap and tell viewers what likely was coming on the next play. Nantz explained that Romo “predicting plays” wasn’t a complex aspect of calling games, as it all boiled down to communication.
“We’re looking at each other. It’s not a complicated thing,” Nantz said. “I told him, ‘I’ll give you all the room you feel you need. If you feel like there’s something you need to say, give me a signal and I want you to go for it.'”
“We’re conversing during a broadcast, not everyone does it,” he added. “That’s when it really gets good. You have two individuals looking at one another and they’re carrying on a conversation. It’s like watching a game with your buddy for three hours.”
And Nantz believes there’s a reason why Romo curtailed the predictions as the season went on.
“He didn’t verbalize it (to me), but I think there’s so much more to his skill set than that,” Nantz continued. “So as the season went on, there might have been less of that. I think when people started to say, ‘You’re predicting plays,’ it may have even annoyed him a little bit because I think he didn’t feel like people were listening to his full body of work. It’s just that he has a lot of pitches. He’s not just a fastball thrower.”
Romo had many highlights during the 2017 season, but none were better than his call of a stray cat running onto the field during a “Thursday Night Football” game between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens.