Outgoing CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus addressed this week the incoming criticism of NFL analyst Tony Romo for Super Bowl LVIII. Whether warranted or not, it’s real. And it raises the stakes for Romo.
“I do believe that because of some of the criticism, most of which I think is undeserved . . . I think it’s an important game for him no matter what,” McManus told Chris “Mad Dog” Russo of SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio, via Jimmy Traina of SI.com.
“I think if people really listen to Tony, and he’s not your meat-and-potatoes analyst,” McManus said. “He’s more of a fan. He gets excited. We sometimes say to him, ‘Hey, calm down a little bit because you do get too into the game,’ which I think is a plus. But I think generally speaking, people really enjoy listening to [Jim] Nantz and Romo and Tracy [Wolfson].”
McManus believes the criticism is a result of groupthink, X style.
“When social media starts to turn, it really turns and it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” McManus said. “The people who really like Tony tend not to tweet. It’s mostly the negative. You get two tweets and then people pile on.”
In many respects, it’s a product of the platform. Still, Romo’s habits and vocal mannerisms are conducive to scrutiny. Sometimes, frankly, he doesn’t even finish his sentences. Sometimes, he contradicts himself. Sometimes, it’s hard to follow the point he’s trying to make.
I don’t have a problem with him. I don’t think he’s any different than he was when he started in 2017, and everyone loved him. It’s a job that is conducive to strong opinions in both directions. And McManus is right; the people who like someone on TV rarely take the time to share that with the world.
Still, at some point the criticism can’t be ignored by CBS. Especially with someone like Greg Olsen now available, apparently, to leave Fox if offered another network’s No. 1 spot. What if CBS decides to do to Romo what it did to Phil Simms when Romo was hired to replace Simms in the broadcast booth? Would CBS move Romo to the studio, and give Olsen the job?
Crazier things have happened in NFL media, and everyone’s contract on The NFL Today is up, other than host James Brown, who recently signed a new deal.