All of the drama surrounding Tony Romo’s future on the football field has come to an end. Will he play for the Texans? Will he play for the Broncos? Will he play for the Jets? No, no, and no. He won’t be playing for any NFL team anymore. Multiple reports, starting with ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, say that the longtime Cowboys star QB is retiring from the game and will pursue a career in the broadcast booth. Romo will be replacing Phil Simms as the lead analyst for NFL on CBS, so Jim Nantz has a new partner. There’s also the opportunity for Romo to work on CBS’ golf broadcasts, so he’s really all-in on his new career change.
For a brief word on how this affects the Cowboys, this is a good outcome for them in terms of their salary cap. Romo’s remaining cap hit can be split over the next two seasons once he officially retires after June 1st.
I write this post not to reminisce about Tony Romo as an NFL player (as much as I ridicule the December disasters and the playoff fumble vs. Seattle, he was a really good quarterback), but to celebrate the end of the Phil Simms era. There’s no word yet on whether Simms is just going to move to a studio role (especially since Tony Gonzalez left The NFL Today) or if he’s gone from CBS altogether, but it is a truly wonderful day knowing that Simms’ incoherent, self-contradictory, and uninformative “analysis” will not be destroying live games anymore. We won’t have to endure bizarre ramblings about how talented Blaine Gabbert is. Gone are the awkward struggles to grasp basic English-language sentences. Somehow, someway, Simms managed to be the #1 analyst for two different networks for more than 20 years, called eight Super Bowls along the way, and was paired up with Nantz as the Madden NFL video game commentators for four seasons. All of this actually happened, but now there’s a new guy in town, and there’s surely no way he can possibly be worse than Phil.
As an aside, the 2017 NFL broadcasting landscape will be considerably different. In addition Romo replacing Simms, John Lynch obviously left his spot as FOX’s #2 analyst to be the GM of the 49ers. FOX hasn’t replaced Lynch yet, and I hope that Simms isn’t seen as an option. At ESPN, Chris Berman’s kinda sorta retirement has led to Trey Wingo getting lead duties on the NFL Draft, Suzy Kolber on Monday Night Countdown, and Samantha Ponder for Sunday NFL Countdown. Berman also (poorly) did play-by-play for the late game on the Monday Night Football opening week doubleheader, and without giving away too many details, there’s a reliable source on a popular broadcasting forum who says we might see a woman replace him in that once-a-year capacity.