Take a bow, Tony Romo. The AFC championship game belonged to you.
The CBS color analyst, who has impressed viewers with his clear vision of what’s going on – and what’s about to go on – in his two seasons in the booth elevated his game, delivering commentary that was widely applauded as the Patriots topped the Chiefs in overtime.
It was as if, as the Eagles’ Chris Long put it, he had “Miss Cleo in his earpiece.”
Romo has miss Cleo in his earpiece
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 21, 2019
He was the first to use the line “ball don’t lie” on a replay of a Julian Edelman touch. During overtime, he pointed out that Rob Gronkowski going out wide meant he was going to be Tom Brady’s target, his timing impeccable. And when the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, he noted, “I’d come out in play action and take a shot down the field, try to end this now.” He wasn’t far off there.
He can be a little too excited, a tad overcaffeinated at times, but he’s become the best thing about color commentators: You know it’s a big game when he’s calling it.
If anyone can get viewers excited about the prospect of another Super Bowl appearance by the Patriots, it just might be Romo. CBS will broadcast the game between the Rams and Patriots on Feb. 3, and the plan is to let Romo be Romo. Think he’ll be stoked?
“You’ll see stuff on social media like, ‘Tony is not as excited as he used to be,’ or ‘CBS has pulled him back,’ ” lead producer Jim Rikhoff said recently, according to SI.com. “It’s never that. We never do that. It’s basically, we let him go.”
Romo’s best moment Sunday may have been just before a touchdown run by the Patriots’ Sony Michel. Going for it on fourth and 1, Brady handed off to Michel for a run to the right side rather than calling for a quarterback sneak. Before the snap, he predicted that Brady was calling an audible. “Oh, they’re killing it,” he said of the play call in the huddle. “Usually means a motion and a run out wide to the right.” No wonder someone called him Romostradamus.
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2019
His next stop is Super Bowl LIII.
“I don’t know really know how I’m going to feel until that day, but I think there’s always a little bit of nervousness before every game, whether you’re a player or an announcer,” he said recently, according to Newsday. “I think that’s good. I think that’s healthy. In some ways it makes you feel the importance. But I don’t know. I’d be guessing if I told you exactly what I’m going to feel beforehand. But I’m excited.”
His enthusiasm shows and he says that now he’s “more fulfilled than ever. As time goes on, I think you appreciate what you did in life, but you also appreciate that you kind of move on. At the time when it’s over, it’s like, ‘This is a big decision,’ and, ‘It’s a big thing,’ and then all of a sudden you move on and say, ‘It’s great.’
“I feel very fortunate, let’s say that, with where I’m at in life, and I don’t really look back. I feel this is exactly where I should be, and I feel like I’m happy.”