Tony Romo is going straight from the field to CBS’ No. 1 NFL broadcast booth, replacing Phil Simms. Some have criticized putting such a neophyte in a prime position.
Here’s the thing. Phil Simms did virtually the exact same thing as Romo. Simms had surgery after the 1993 season, was released and retired. NBC hired him in 1995 and, in a total surprise for the time, put him in the No. 1 booth as the second color analyst. He had never called a game before that. He called the Super Bowl that season.
The significant differences were Simms had a few reps doing studio work for ESPN and was one of two color analysts in the booth. Which makes it a little easier. The counterpoint is Romo has Nantz to smooth things over and a low bar to meet. If Romo can just not be grating, he’ll be viewed as an upgrade and have time to work into the role.
Simms was also tapped to do the Miss Universe 2002 competition despite no experience in pageantry.
Troy Aikman went straight to the booth in 2001. He waited an entire year in the business before getting a “No. 1 spot” as FOX still had John Madden/Pat Summerall for another season.
Some NFL players have to work their way through the broadcasting ranks. Stars, especially quarterbacks, don’t. They get jobs based on name recognition and projected personality. Some sink. Some swim. There’s nothing novel about what’s happening with Tony Romo.