Sports

Tony Romo is a pox on all our houses

Illustration for article titled Tony Romo is a pox on all our houses

Photo: Getty Images

The Browns and Chiefs played a very good, entertaining, tense playoff game. It was close, came down to the last possession, and ended on one of the ballsier calls a head coach has made in a long time. It was nearly dreamland for the Browns, and the Chiefs were able to survive having the most important player in the game miss the last quarter and a half. There was so much going on.

Which was hard to pay attention to because Tony Romo was too busy auditioning for the next announcer of “The Price Is Right.” He was mere seconds away from screaming “A new car!!” after a 2nd and 7.

Romo gets a lot of leeway from most of the football world because he’s enthusiastic and nice. At least that’s what I gather. CBS gives him all the money in the world because he’s good-looking, I assume. Or they’re hoping that Jim Nantz knifes him midgame soon to get them off the hook, which sounds like it could happen at any point next season based on the bass in Nantz’s voice whenever he addresses Romo directly.

But the job isn’t to just be enthusiastic, or not only enthusiastic. Instead of telling us why a certain play went down the way it did, or showing us something we might not have seen, Romo spends most big plays sounding like someone who’s never had an orgasm faking an orgasm. He doesn’t have to sell me the game. I’m already watching the thing. After Chad Henne threw what looked to be a critical interception, instead of showing us the coverage that Henne didn’t see or the change the Browns may have made, Romo was selling us the rest of the game like some 19th century elixir huckster. I know the Browns have a chance to go ahead now. I know it would be their first AFC title game since before the grunge era.

THAT’S NOT YOUR JOB, TONY.

The game can tell the story, you fill in the details. Give it color, y’know, because the actual fucking job is called, “color commentator!”

The beauty of football, and the complexity of it that can make it so hard for so many to grasp beyond a surface-level understanding, is that all 22 players have an influence, or lack thereof, on every play simultaneously. There’s no one simply loitering around the three-point line, or a left fielder watching the right fielder run down a ball in that gap. Everyone is doing something, and all of it matters in some way. The camera can only show you what’s going on around the ball, and if you really know what you’re doing (not me most of the time) what is happening on the line. But you can’t see it all. The job that Romo is supposed to be doing is showing us how all this wove together. Which he can see because he played the game and knows what to look for, supposedly. Instead, we get a rim shot.

At this point, Romo is closer to Jerry Lewis than John Madden, and even though Madden eventually became famous for the noises he made/bodily functions that made it through the mic, he would take time out here and there to actually analyze a play. Romo is an audience plant trying to incite the rest of the crowd to cheer louder. He’s an airhorn. He a walking “KAROOOOGA!”

It’s fine to be enthusiastic. It’s fine to be excited, and genuinely love the sport you’re broadcasting. It’s actually better that way, as any baseball fan who has had to question all of his choices while listening to John Smoltz will tell you. But you actually have to do the job, not just be a clown nose for three hours.

-While the NFL had a pretty good day in that it had two close playoff games, even if Drew Brees went full “poorly chosen chalice” in what may have been his last game, the story coming out of this weekend might just be the same old problem the NFL can’t, or won’t, do much about.. The Chargers are going to hire Brandon Staley, the Rams’ defensive coordinator, as head coach. The Lions are reportedly going to hire Dan Campbell, the Saints’ tight ends coach. The Jaguars hired Urban Meyer. The Falcons hired Arthur Smith.

Meanwhile, Eric Bienemy is being talked down as a possible hire by any team, despite running the video game offense in K.C. for the past three years.

The reports you see are that teams are wary of the Andy Reid tree after Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson ended up covered in their own urine in their jobs. And the other guys have their qualifications. Saleh and Staley have run some of the better defenses for years in the league, for instance.

But there’s always a reason, isn’t there? And it’s always the white guys getting hired. Strange, no?


Anyway, have to get back to the positive side of the ledger. So here’s this pass from Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni, that I definitely want to sign over most of my life savings to:

You can actually hear Juventus’s defense rip open as this travels through them all. It’s like time stopped. It’s important to remember that sport can achieve this level of art from time to time. 

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