The NFL season is right around the corner which means, among other things, that Tony Romo will be back in our living rooms for many of the best games the regular season and playoffs have to offer. This will not be the welcome news it once was. After coming out of the gates scorching hot in the broadcasting sphere and spending a few seasons at the top of the NFL analyst totem pole, public opinion has shifted on Romo in recent years. It has not turned entirely. But the Romo shine has faded and his performance last year led to the loudest criticism he's received since he hung up the cleats.
Romo, much like Al Michaels, is unbothered by that criticism. Speaking to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Romo said what people say about his broadcasting pales in comparison to what he experienced as starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Then Romo said the CBS team has been so good for so long that it only makes sense they'd start receiving negative coverage eventually because "people like clicks" and there are agendas at play:
“People come to me now and say they love our crew, they love how we do it,” Romo said. “Like anything, we’ve (the CBS crew) been at such a high level doing this for so long that it doesn’t matter who you are, people are not going to continually write the same article about how great you are. I mean, you wouldn’t do that. You’re not going to continually write, ‘They are the best,’ over and over again. They might still think it, but people have to find things to write. I think that’s just part of human nature.
“And guess what? There’s agendas. People like clicks. I mean, that’s a real thing. And I think they should. I think it’s all a positive. Talking about it, it helps all of the NFL. Our job is to go out there and perform like we’ve done and try to always do our best. I think we’ve done a great job with that. You’re looking at a very talented group here. Like all things, we’re going to go and try to put our best foot forward.”
Romo doesn't go as far as to say anybody criticizing him is a basement blogger like Michaels but it's just as much of a dismissal of that criticism. Which should be expected, I guess. A former player like Romo is not conditioned to admit the people outside his circle are right about anything, even if he agrees. And if he's not going to admit that his critics have some points then there's no good way to respond to questions about it.
But it feels like there should be more of a middle ground than the path he chose here. The critiques levied at him and Jim Nantz last season were not borne simply because the writers and the audience got tired of being nice. And not every publication that runs those critiques are not doing so only in pursuit of clicks. There will always be places that thrive on negative coverage because there is oftentimes more profit to be found in that direction but, as Deitsch points out in his article, the criticism was coming from all sorts of places. And if everybody is coming to the same general conclusion, then maybe they have a point.
Romo is certainly right in one regard: people do like clicks.