It’s been a weird NFL season for the Jim Nantz and Tony Romo pairing on CBS. The two were once viewed as the best booth in the game, with Romo in particular drawing praise for his ability to diagnose plays before the ball was snapped and serve as a breath of fresh air in a role that can become very stale very easily.
But recently, Nantz’s general operating procedure and Romo’s scattershot approach to calling a game has come under an increasingly level of fire from football fans, particularly as Romo’s NFL career becomes more and more of a distant memory. And in the most recent episode of “The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast,” Andrew Marchand laid out some of the issues that are going on behind the scenes with the pair.
“If he had someone who could bounce things off of and who could make some of the stuff Tony says work, it would probably be better,” Marchand said at the 9:57 mark of the podcast. “But the problem is, Nantz is about Nantz, he’s been like that for a long time — you see it in the postgame when he does the broadcast and then he’s going down and doing the podium, I don’t understand why Tracy Wolfson or someone else can’t do that. That doesn’t make sense to me, they have everyone there, too. But it’s Nantz all the time, so that’s number one.
“Number two is, when you struggle as … we heard about this, this was a narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all the publicity, and then you heard from Nantz’s side and people at CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” he continued. “And so, the issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level? All that said, Tony Romo needs to study more, needs to be better prepared, because as you move away from the sidelines and not studying tape, you need to do more work. And I know CBS is aware of this, they tried to intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this, so that’s a credit to them, people in charge there. But it has not gotten better and it’s a problem.”
Marchand and John Ourand went on to lay out some of the things that are wrong here — Ourand brought up concerns that Romo could be like his former Cowboys teammate, Jason Witten, while Marchand mentioned the “fear” that “the broadcast lacks discipline” in the lead-up to CBS airing the Super Bowl next year — before Marchand revealed that he’s skeptical that the intrapersonal dynamics between the two are strong.
“The idea that they’re getting along, too, I don’t think that’s true,” Marchand said at the 13:53 mark. “They can do interviews and say we love each other, I know better, I think, in terms of what goes on. And I think that’s an issue, and I don’t know if they’ll … they gotta figure out a way, I’m not saying there’s no turning back, but they’re in a difficult spot.”
While we don’t quite have a full-blown Shaq and Kobe with the Lakers situation here yet, it sure seems like this is a situation worth monitoring in the lead-up to next year’s Super Bowl.