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NBC’s Cris Collinsworth struggled through vocal issues, CBS’ Tony Romo had fun during Chiefs blowout

“Cris, I never realized how many people cared about you," Mike Tirico said on 'Sunday Night Football' last night.

NBC "Sunday Night Football" announcers Mike Tirico (left) and Cris Collinsworth during Buccaneers-Cowboys.
NBC "Sunday Night Football" announcers Mike Tirico (left) and Cris Collinsworth during Buccaneers-Cowboys.Read moreNBC Sports

Cris Collinsworth was in desperate need of a cup of tea Sunday night.

Collinsworth, in his 14th season calling Sunday Night Football, muscled through voice issues calling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the Dallas Cowboys alongside Mike Tirico. Collinsworth’s vocal issues probably weren’t helped by the fact he pulled double-duty this week, also calling the Buffalo Bills blowout win against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.

Regardless of the cause, viewers flocked to social media Sunday — some out of concern for Collinsworth, some to crack a joke at the longtime announcer’s expense.

» READ MORE: Amid NFL broadcasting shuffle, Eagles announcer Merrill Reese remains a familiar voice

“Cris Collinsworth sounds like I tried to sound when I would call in sick to my college job on Monday mornings,” wrote The Ringer’s Benjamin Solak.

“Somebody please hand Chris Collinsworth a lozenge,” commented former Green Bay Packers vice president Andrew Brandt, who is currently the executive director of the Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova.

Even Collinsworth’s son, Jac, who was in Dallas as part of NBC’s Football Night in America pregame show, took weighed in on his father’s voice issues.

“We were confident Cris would be able to call the game up to his and our high standards,” an NBC spokesperson told The Inquirer.

Tirico addressed Collinsworth’s voice during the first quarter, and again following halftime.

“Cris, I never realized how many people cared about you. My phone has blown up, ‘Is Cris OK?’ Because people are hearing your voice,” Tirico said during the broadcast.

“Is the next question, ‘Can you drag him out of there?’” Collinsworth joked.

While NBC doesn’t have the massive staffs that broadcast teams at CBS and Fox employ, all the networks have contingency plans in case an announcer is suddenly unable to call a game. In 2021, CBS prepared Ian Eagle to call Super Bowl LV between the Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs in case Jim Nantz contracted COVID-19 (Nantz did get COVID during the 2021 season, and was replaced by Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy).

Romo had fun in the booth at Andy Reid’s expense

Almost immediately after joining CBS in 2017, Tony Romo separated himself from other top NFL broadcasters by his willingness to have fun in the booth.

“Romo’s giddiness can be corny,” wrote The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis following Romo’s performance calling last year’s high-octane Chiefs-Bills playoff matchup. “Giddiness is also Romo’s superpower. It allows him to erase the distance between the announcer and the fan. It lets him get one over on the Professor Football model of announcer that became standard over the last decade.”

Now in his sixth year with CBS, Romo appears to still be having fun alongside Nantz. On Sunday, the duo called the Chiefs’ blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals, and Romo was Romo — filling the broadcast with enthusiasm, jokes, and a few pop culture references.

Just before halftime, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker knocked through a 54-yard field goal after being carted off earlier in the game after tweaking his ankle.

“He comes back from the locker room, thinks he’s probably done, and Daniel LaRusso is going to fight,” Romo said, a reference to the fictional hero of The Karate Kid, played in three films and Netflix’s Cobra Kai series by Ralph Macchio. “And he comes through.”

Following the successful field goal, Romo poked some fun at Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

“Andy’s like, ‘Oh, baby. Let’s go get a snack,’” Romo joked as he prepared to make his way to the locker room for halftime.

Romo hasn’t called an Eagles game since Week 13 of the 2020 season, when the Birds lost to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. It appears unlikely the former Cowboys quarterback will be in the booth for an Eagles game this season, since the team is scheduled to appear on CBS just three times, and none appear to be national game material.

» READ MORE: Tony Romo likely won’t call any Eagles games this season, but he’s high on the Birds

Quick hits

  1. Kirk Herbstreit will make his NFL regular-season debut with Amazon next week on Thursday Night Football alongside Al Michaels. But on Saturday, the longtime ESPN analyst showed off his college football chops by correctly predicting Marshall could defeat Notre Dame, which they did just a few hours later in a huge upset.

  1. Speaking of Amazon, they might want to triple check their systems ahead of Thursday Night Football’s streaming debut this week on Prime Video. A host of streaming services — DirecTV’s Sunday NFL Ticker, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and NFL+ — all faced outages and angry fans Sunday.

  2. It rained so hard in Chicago on Sunday, Fox added field markings digitally so fans watching at home could follow along.

  1. ESPN is “working very hard” on developing a sports betting app, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told Bloomberg. “Sports betting is a part of what our younger … under-35 sports audience is telling us they want as part of their sports lifestyle,” Chapek said.