Two years ago, CBS took a gamble when the network signed Tony Romo and immediately placed him on its No. 1 crew alongside Jim Nantz. But now they’ll have to pay up if they want to keep the star broadcaster in a CBS blazer.
The 39-year-old Romo is flying high entering his third year in the booth, already considered the best analyst in the NFL. He was the real star of the Patriots-Chiefs AFC championship game last season, and he did a solid job calling his first Super Bowl in February (though my colleague Marcus Hayes thought he fumbled the broadcast).
Romo’s contract with CBS expires at the end of the season, though it’s hard to imagine him jumping to a different network, especially since CBS will once again air the Super Bowl in 2021. But Romo is reportedly asking for $10 million a year, a hefty raise from the $4 million a year he’s said to currently receive.
“The Patriots don’t talk about contracts,” Romo told reporters repeatedly at a recent CBS media day event in New York City, parroting the words of Bill Belichick. “I love football, I love working CBS, I love the fact that I get to be an analyst. So yeah, I think I like this.”
Romo has called just one Eagles game in his two years with CBS — the team’s win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 of the 2017 season (where he told a terrible joke involving Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato). But this year, Birds fans might get to hear the former Cowboys quarterback call two games, both taking place at Lincoln Financial Field
It’s almost a lock that Romo and Nantz will call the Eagles’ Week 11 match-up against the New England Patriots at 4:25 p.m. Nov. 17. But the Eagles also play on CBS in Week 5 at 1 p.m. against the New York Jets, and since FOX has the 4:25 p.m. national window locked up with Packers-Cowboys, Romo and Natz could end up on the call.
Romo spoke to reporters about the Eagles, quarterback Carson Wentz, and his thoughts on the possibility of the NFL expanding to an 18-week season. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Listen, he caught a couple of bad breaks. It happens in football … Wentz works hard, and is a strong and physical quarterback. It’s not like he’s doing anything wrong.
You play long enough and something’s going to happen. It’s just hard when it’s real early in your career, because you focus so much being healthy. He just needs to keep playing football, and over time, ability and talent — all that stuff shows. I don’t think you worry about stuff you can’t control.
The Cowboys and the Eagles are really good football teams. The Redskins have a lot of good parts people don’t talk about, but obviously the quarterback position is going to matter tremendously [the team announced Case Keenum would start Week 1]. And I think the Giants are going to be better than people know.
The division could be very strong, more so than I think some people predict.
London? [laughter] My wife would like that… I actually wanted to do the Chargers in that small soccer stadium. I always thought that would be fun, take you back to Fridays and Saturdays and stuff.
A lot more people know a lot more about that than I do. All I would say is with an 18-game season, I wouldn’t necessary love having two teams at 4-12 playing in Week 17 or Week 18. However, if you did take it to 18 games, I would argue you could add playoff teams in each conference. It would keep teams in it longer who are 7-9.
There are so many other arguments to be made for the players in terms of injuries … Anytime you’re adding games, you adding more physical stress on players. But, are you also [taking away] two weeks of training camp? Because that’s pretty physical.
So I don’t know. If you’re adding hits somewhere, then you need to take hits somewhere. If you want 18 games, I think you can figure out ways to do that.
I don’t know … After talking to [NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating] Al Riveron and the NFL a little bit, I think I have a little bit better grasp of how to articulate it ... I don’t think it’ll be near as big a deal as everyone’s making it out to be. I think you’ll get one red flag a game on it — it’s not going to be 50 times a game.
I think people want to learn, but they also want it ... quicker, more efficient, and in layman’s terms. If I’m using all football jargon, all the time, if you didn’t play football your whole life it’s not going to be very fun.
I just try to think of you [or] the person watching at home and be like, ‘Would they like this or not?’
Yeah, a lot. But I’m not going to get into any of it here. [laughter]