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Volume 21 No. 34
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Secret grader gives Romo a B, with a bright future

I asked a longtime sports TV production executive to review Tony Romo’s performance during the Oct. 26 Dolphins-Ravens “Thursday Night Football” game. The executive still works in the business and asked for anonymity.

Overall, the executive gave Romo a “B” for his performance that night, saying Romo had been better and more engaged earlier in the season. Part of that comes down to the game, which was terrible and made it more difficult for a young broadcaster like Romo to shine. The Ravens jumped out to a 20-0 first-half lead and coasted to a 40-0 win.

“Tony is still a rookie. He has his great moments. He has an infectious personality,” the executive said. “Give him a good play and a good game, he’s more excited than the hometown fans. But there was none of that in a Baltimore-Miami game. It was a bad game. Those are the tough games for somebody who’s only done a few.”

The executive said Romo shows his lack of broadcast experience when he utters too many obvious sentences. At one point, he said, “The defenses are looking to make tackles short of the sticks.” At another, he said, “Baltimore needs to get up and play good football.”

“I call those ‘No shit’ statements,” the executive said.

The executive thought Romo missed an opportunity when he discussed Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler’s broken ribs. “I would have liked him to have put it in perspective of the injuries that he’s had because Lord knows he’s had his share.”

Romo was at his best when he was explaining nuances of the game. At one point, Baltimore had an unbalanced offensive line, and Romo pointed out that the Miami defense didn’t adjust.

“It was a perceptive comment,” the executive said. “He was on top of it.”

Another time, the executive praised Romo for talking about how the Dolphins receivers were not getting separation from the Ravens’ defensive backs, so they had to fight for passes to be completed.

One Romo bit that went viral that night happened in the fourth quarter when a stray cat ran onto the field. A giddy Romo narrated the cat’s on-field moves as though it were a player.

“That’s in his wheelhouse,” the executive said. “When the truck is working well and they give you the video, run with it.”

The executive also credited Romo for breathing new life into Jim Nantz’s calls.

“Tony has had an effect on Jim. Jim has lightened up more and had more fun than maybe in past years.”

Overall, the executive praised Nantz and Romo, saying they have the potential to be really good in time.

“The coronation is a little premature, but they’re already a good team.”
John Ourand