BILLINGS – If you watched the AFC championship between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots on Jan. 20, Tony Romo sounded like he knew what plays were coming well before the snap.
As lead CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz pointed out, it wasn’t the first time.
“When we have these key moments late in the game and we’re all dazzled by what he’s doing, these are a testament to years and years of his work and preparation,” Nantz said in a conference call with MTN Sports. “He’s not guessing. He’s not getting some sort of message from the Gods.”
Maybe not, but Romo has been pulling off this act since last season when he was named lead NFL analyst at CBS. Once again, in the AFC Championship, Romo revealed an uncanny knack for anticipating plays and letting fans in on those secrets.
“He’s seeing what (Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) saw,” Nantz said. “He sees a wrinkle, he sees an opening and basically he’s suggesting, ‘This is where the play should go.’ And it just married up. It was in perfect symmetry with what Brady happened to be seeing, too. But you’re talking about two quarterbacks who played, or did play, for a long time and put the effort and work in to be as good as they can be. And we’re the beneficiaries of it at CBS, but the viewers are more than anybody.”
Romo admitted to MTN Sports he’s simply like a kid in a candy store. With a microphone.
“I know how important one football game is, much less a championship game to go to the Super Bowl,” he said. “It’s what you dream of as a kid. I’m excited like everybody else at home, like, ‘This is such a big deal.’”
It really gets big now as Romo sets up to call his first Super Bowl in front of the world.
His most telling (and endearing) trait for fans may be that he actually sounds like a fan.
“You’re almost, like, talking to your friends right next to you like, ‘Oh, he’s going to … Oh, can you believe he did that?’” It kind of comes out of you a little bit, I guess, and you feel like you witnessed something special. And the story that plays out in front of you, sometimes it’s unique,” Romo said.
With less than four minutes to play on fourth down between the Chiefs and Patriots, Romo saw Brady audible and set a man in motion. On the spot, he said it usually means a run to the right. Sure enough, running back Sony Michel ran 10 yards toward the right for a touchdown.
“Sometimes you get something like the game we had on Sunday,” said Romo. “I was excited for that one just because of the matchups and styles and the great players. I mean, that’s lucky for us to be a part of something like that.”
Lucky for us, too.