If Tony Romo were to turn his well-earned reputation as the NFL’s Nostradamus inward, he would see a future dotted with historically enormous paychecks, one clouded only by the name of the payer.
For any network but especially for ESPN and Disney, for whom an outlay like that would be mere couch change, the investment would be worth it. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” telecasts have struggled, at least from an esoteric if not monetary point of view, since Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden departed. The Jason Witten experiment failed badly and while Booger McFarland has been an improvement, the broadcast team (with Joe Tessitore) hasn’t clicked with viewers.
With NBC’s Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth and Fox’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman set, signing Romo would make sense if ESPN hopes to move into the Sunday afternoon market at some point with games on ABC and Romo filling other roles on the cable network as well. Romo is in the last year of a three-year contract that pays him around $4 million annually and Front Office Sports reports that CBS has the right to match ESPN’s offer. By comparison, John Madden, during his heyday in the 1990s, made $8 million a year — roughly around $14 million in today’s dollars.
At the moment, good options beyond Romo just aren’t there. Peyton Manning turned down the chance to move into football broadcasting with Fox and ESPN; might that change if Eli Manning is no longer playing in the NFL? New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who turns 40 Wednesday and can become a free agent in the offseason, hasn’t decided whether to return for the 2020 season and ESPN reported over the weekend that he had received calls from what Adam Schefter said was “at least one non-ESPN network” to inquire about his availability and interest.
“Drew has not spoken with them or anyone about any new opportunities,” an unnamed source told ESPN. “Until such time as a decision is made about next season, he will not be engaging in any conversations regarding or considering any new opportunities.”
As far as Romo goes, though, there’s one big caveat. Would he have the same chemistry working with someone else that he has with Jim Nantz? Nantz probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves for Romo’s success, same as with Michaels and Buck. In some respects, finding the right play-by-play person is harder than landing on the right former athlete. Would Romo find the same easy relationship with someone else?
He might not, even though he undoubtedly is a special talent. While Romo was still the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback, Nantz and Michaels had a conversation about which NFL player might make the best analyst. As Nantz told reporters last year, each confided that he had a guy in mind.
Come to find out, each was thinking of Romo.
What happened in Super Bowl LIV
The Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, in the Super Bowl to deliver Kansas City’s first NFL championship in 50 years. Find all the highlights here.
How it happened: Patrick Mahomes had a play in his back pocket for when the Chiefs needed it. Now “Tre Right, Three Jet Chip Wasp” will live in Kansas City lore.
Commentary: Patrick Mahomes, in Super Bowl comeback, showed why he is the best quarterback in the NFL.
Parade: Fans gather early and in mass numbers to celebrate Chiefs’ Super Bowl in Kansas City.
Photos: The best photos from Hard Rock Stadium | The plays the Chiefs made to win
Halftime show: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira teamed up to become the first two Latina singers to perform at the Super Bowl. It was a truly riveting, wildly entertaining performance. “You may have heard the American Dream itself pulsing in a space where it will always be allowed to live,” pop music critic Chris Richards writes, “inside a pop song.”
Commercials: The very best from Super Bowl Sunday, and the very worst.
Go a little deeper...
• Patrick Mahomes became the NFL’s best quarterback by refusing to specialize in football
• In tragedies’ wake, Andy Reid and the Chiefs found success through second chances
• The Chiefs brought Native American imagery, and the ‘tomahawk chop,’ to the Super Bowl stage
• Len Dawson smoked his way through the first Super Bowl. The photos are priceless.
• For Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and his family, this Super Bowl trip was 50 years in the making