If an intrepid filmmaker were to revisit Jerry McGuire, the updated version might feature Rob Tidwell deciding to preserve his brain and announce football games instead of playing football because that's where the real cash lies. Cuba Gooding Jr. would conceivably be free to shout that he wants the Tony Romo Money into a smartphone. Truly, so much has changed since 1996. Especially Gooding's career.
If so, art would mirror real life with a slight refraction because that's essentially the plea being made by Jim Nantz to CBS, per a report from the New York Post's Andrew Marchand.
Sources said Nantz is seeking to top the $17.5 million yearly salary Romo signed right before the pandemic hit as everything perfectly aligned for the standout NFL analyst. While Romo just works the football season, Nantz calls the NFL, the Final Four and golf, including the Masters. He has been out front for CBS for three decades. He currently makes $6.5 million per year on a contract that ends early next summer, according to sources.
One need not be an expert to point out that this isn't the best time to ask for a big, juicy raise. Anyone working at a car repair shop to a dentist's office has firsthand experience with how trying life is and how those trials have tightened purse strings. But to steal a phrase from Toy Story's Woody: this is Jim Freaking Nantz we're talking about. If anyone has earned the privilege of having a Brink's truck of burned toast dumped on their breakfast platter, it's the venerable announcer.
Over three decades he's solidified himself as the largest and most comfortable big game voice in an increasingly loud public square. His ubiquity is far more impressive than Romo, who, for all his instant success, is a bit of a one-trick pony.
Nantz does the Final Four, the Masters, and the NFL, including the revolving Super Bowl slot every few years. He's still throwing out routes on the money when it comes to football, is reliably measured during golf, and doesn't miss on the big moments in hoops. At 61, he has more than a decade and possibly two out the front windshield.
It seems a bit optimistic to think CBS is going to dig down deeply into its pockets and nearly triple Nantz's salary. Marchand points out that his sources view Romo's contract as an aberration and not a standard-setter. And the truth of the matter is that's because they overpaid for him. Nothing against Romo, but there's absolutely no way he should be making $11 million more per year than Nantz.
Seriously, take a moment and mull that over. Realize how bonkers it is. Far be it from me to take money out of anyone's pocket. That Romo was able to so spectacularly impress his way into such a figure (and CBS was far from alone as ESPN reportedly had metered out $14 million for his services) is nothing if not a reflection of his powers of persuasion. Simply put, good for him.
But CBS created a domino effect in doing so. It was impossible to think Nantz would simply go along with this striking inequity, no matter how professional and personally fond of Romo he has always been. It's unclear how this situation finds its resolution, though safe money is on a contract that dwarfs those of Joe Buck and Mike Tirico, two of the closest contemporaries.
There's simply no way Romo is worth $11 million more per year than Nantz. Those numbers have to level out somehow. How close they end up is anyone's guess. And anyone guessing may want to re-familiarize themselves with the sunk cost concept and the everlasting truth that life ain't fair.