For years, Tom McCarthy has alerted Phillies fans about calls to the bullpen.

Last Sunday, he answered one.

McCarthy, the Phillies’ lead television play-by-play announcer since 2009, was assigned to call a college basketball game in San Diego last weekend. But when Jim Nantz entered COVID-19 protocol and was unable to travel, the honchos at CBS summoned McCarthy to sub in on their No. 1 NFL crew and work the Carolina Panthers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game alongside analyst Tony Romo.

Even for a veteran of a few thousand MLB, NFL, and college basketball broadcasts on TV and radio, it represented a pinch-me moment to gain national exposure and be seen and heard by a larger audience than ever.

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“I’m humbled by any opportunity I get to have this kind of platform,” McCarthy said by phone this week. “But I really tried to go into this thinking, ‘How can I make Tony comfortable? How can I make the folks who run this crew, who are unbelievably talented, feel comfortable? My biggest objective was just to kind of fit in and not disrupt what they’ve done for all the weeks that they’ve done those games.”

Having kept Nantz’s seat warm, McCarthy will return Sunday to Tampa and team up for the first time in his career with Ron Jaworski for the Westwood One national radio call of the Eagles-Bucs wild-card playoff game. (Fans in the Philadelphia market will hear Eagles announcers Merrill Reese and Mike Quick, as usual.)

“Any time you get Tom Brady but then you couple that with a matchup with the Eagles, it’s a really cool opportunity for all of us,” McCarthy said. “I’m excited to work with Jaws because he’s so good at what he does. This is going to be great.”

First, though, everyone wants to know about sharing a booth with Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback whose casual style, raw exuberance, and uncanny knack for predicting plays before the snap resulted in a rapid rise to analyst stardom in 2017 — and a sportscasting-record 10-year, $180 million contract from CBS in 2020.

McCarthy said he had met Romo before, but Romo hadn’t worked with a play-by-player other than Nantz save for a few pre-CBS practice runs with Cowboys radio announcer Brad Sham. McCarthy has a handful of broadcast partners in a typical Phillies season, so four days’ notice was enough for him to get more familiar (mostly over Zoom calls because of COVID-19 restrictions) with Romo, whom he lauded as “extremely prepared.”

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“He’s really easy [to work with] because he’s a normal dude who just loves the game,” said McCarthy, who worked this season on the No. 7 crew in CBS’s football pecking order. “His knowledge of the game is phenomenal. His recall is kind of like [John] Kruk’s recall, where he just remembers things that I wouldn’t ever be able to remember.”

After watching Tampa Bay shake off a slow start to chalk up a 41-17 victory in the Week 18 finale, McCarthy believes the underdog Eagles stand a chance to send Brady home early. But he also doubts the Bucs will lose until at least they face the top-seeded Packers, a matchup that would occur in an NFC championship game in Green Bay.

“It’s a game of adjustments, and I just think Tom Brady has adjusted to life during a football game better than anybody else,” McCarthy said. “To me, that’s a huge advantage for the Buccaneers.”

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Regardless, McCarthy won’t take for granted the chance to call another game for a national audience. And after a solid relief appearance last week, he may even get another chance at the No. 1 booth someday.

“I’ve been really fortunate on a million different fronts,” McCarthy said. “Even at 53, I’ve been able to get a lot of [broadcasting] things that I’ve never had before, and I’m extremely grateful. Whatever comes in the future comes in the future. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m totally fine with that.”