Tony Romo was a revelation and received almost universal praise during his first two seasons alongside Jim Nantz in CBS' No. 1 NFL booth. Reviews have been more mixed as the years have passed. For my money he's well above average and his authentic enthusiasm is far better than the trend of people in these high-profile positions acting like they are too cool for it all. Detractors most often point out his penchant for making unusual sounds and and ill-timed factual errors in the biggest moments, which can come too fast and too furious for some viewers.
Nantz has noticed those critiques and responded to them on SI Media With Jimmy Traina, saying it had an impact and is largely unfair.
“I think there was a little bit of a misinformation attempt there to portray him in a not-so-favorable light,” Nantz said on the podcast. “It was very disappointing. It really got, to me, more steam after the AFC championship game, which was our last game. And for the life of me, I didn’t understand it.
"Tony is the best. He’s the absolute best. And he’s also one of my best friends. I love the guy. And when somebody starts questioning our chemistry, there’s an agenda there. There is nothing wrong with our chemistry. I have never had better chemistry with anybody in my career than Tony. All you have to do is sit in the booth with us, which people that are covering our business, they’re always welcome to come in and take a look at how we interact between the two of us, on the air, off the air, between plays. It’s amazing. I’m not worried about it. Here’s what I don’t get. Where was all this outcry during the season? It’s not like we were invisible.
After the AFC Championship Game and before the Super Bowl, the New York Post reported that CBS executives staged "something of an intervention" to address some of the lost luster. The network pushed back on this, calling it a mischaracterization of a regular meeting with on-air talent. It feels safe to put two and two together here and assume that's the "misinformation" to which Nantz is referring.
One understands why he would want to address it, especially after admitting it got to him. There is no downside to being a good teammate in public and nothing we've heard suggests he's anything but in private. To be fair, though, frustrations with the Nantz-Romo booth did not magically appear after their last broadcast. It's a dangerous game to think social media is an accurate window into real life, but there's been a fair amount of criticism not just last season, but the season before.
Like previously stated, Romo has been a welcome addition and his presence on a big game always helps more than it hurts. He does have his shortcomings because what announcer is flawless? On-air chemistry never jumped out as a problem and it's also not the main complaint — and there will always be complaints.
The bright side for Nantz is that he gets a lot of positive feedback from the 99 percent of people who are not "some media observers."
"If you really wanna look at it through the course of the season, I think it speaks for itself what the public says about Tony. You’re building it down to what maybe some media observers say and what Twitter says, but all I never hear about from people is they love the team and they love Tony and we’re gonna have a great season. I have so much respect for him and what he’s done and what he’s done to elevate the excitement of the NFL."