Tony Romo is leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The newly retired quarterback is leaving the Dallas Cowboys to join CBS, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus announced Tuesday.
“Tony has been one of the NFL’s biggest stars for the past decade, and we are thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports,” McManus said in a statement released by the network. “He will bring the same passion, enthusiasm and knowledge that he displayed on the field to the broadcast booth. He brings a fresh and insightful perspective to our viewers having just stepped off the field. We know Tony will quickly develop into a terrific analyst, and alongside Jim Nantz, will become a must-listen for fans each week.”
Romo will pair with longtime friend Jim Nantz as the station’s No. 1 NFL duo, along with sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson. Romo will replace Phil Simms as CBS’s top analyst.
“When you think about the NFL, two of the most iconic brands are the Dallas Cowboys and CBS Sports,” Romo said in the statement. “Going from one legendary team to another as I begin the next phase of my career is a dream come true. I have always known that once my playing career was over I wanted to become a broadcaster. I am ecstatic for the opportunity to work with Jim as I learn the craft and convey to fans my passion for this great game.”
The Sports Business Journal first reported the development.
Romo has been linked to CBS for the past few weeks as retirement seemed more and more likely. He tweeted out a photo of himself in a CBS jacket.
Jumping right into the TV booth could come with a rocky transition. In-game analysis is an especially difficult conversion right out of the box with little to no practice. It’s certainly more difficult than first becoming a ponderous studio analyst.
FOX analyst and voice of “Madden NFL 17” Charles Davis grew into the gig, starting at low-level jobs. He recently told Around The NFL colleague Marc Sessler those reps away from the bright lights were invaluable.
“Now, the one thing you have to be careful of is, you’re starting at a super-high level,” Davis said of big-name players starting out in high-profile gigs. “So your mistakes are really glaring. When you start like me when you’re a nobody, and you beat the bushes and you call high school games and Pop Warner games and Little League baseball and women’s volleyball and the whole thing. You’re doing that on a regional basis and you’re making mistakes and it’s not really the same glare. I don’t have (Sports Illustrated media reporter) Richard Deitsch climbing all over me when I’m calling a Division II women’s basketball game, but it gives me a chance to get my reps without that. If you’re at the highest level, you get dinged right from the start.”
Romo won’t just be starting a new, high-pressure gig that has crushed the likes of Boomer Esiason in the past and led to endless criticism of Simms. Romo could also take on the challenge of becoming a golf broadcaster down the line.
We could even see Romo, a scratch golfer, at this weekend’s Masters in Augusta, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted. The timing of the Masters could explain why the retirement news dropped Tuesday.
It might not be smooth sailing out of the gate in 2017, but Romo has the popularity, intelligence and charisma to be a TV star among NFL analysts.