Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is arguably the most-entertaining broadcaster in sports right now, but it wasn’t always that way.
Romo, who retired from football following the 2016 season, joined CBS’ lead NFL booth ahead of the 2017 season.
The former star quarterback was an instant success in the booth. Fans quickly gravitated towards Romo’s knowledge and excitement for the game.
However, Romo recently admitted to Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina that he was initially extremely boring inside of the broadcast booth. Romo said he was pretty awful during his initial practice sessions with the network.
You can also watch this week’s SI MEDIA PODCAST with Tony Romo on YouTube. https://t.co/iUtZ9FHimO
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) September 12, 2021
“I watched myself. It was so boring, Jimmy. You would’ve been like, ‘This guy needs to stop doing this right now.’ That was the start of me listening to myself,” Romo told Traina.
“It was just trial and error and gaining an understanding of what I would want to hear. When I listened to it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I am the worst announcer ever. I am so boring.’ I cringe already listening to myself, but that, I was like, ugh, disgusting.
“But then I started to just say O.K., do what I would do with anything else. Let’s mimic. So it’s like trying to throw a football when you’re young. You’re trying to copy John Elway, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, whoever. You go through the whole process and you try and mimic them and you find something that works.
“So I tried being Jon Gruden, John Madden, Phil Simms, Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth. I went through the whole gamut.
“And what I found was one day, 50 times in doing games, it clicked for me, and not to say that everyone loves it, but I found my voice and the sound and the way I was saying it, I actually was like, ‘Oh, that was O.K.,’ and that’s a big deal for me to say that, and you know what it was?
“I am at dinner with my family and friends, and everyone has their phones out and they’re just reading their websites and I’m gonna tell a story. How do I keep their attention? And very quickly I found out there’s a certain tone, there’s a certain empathic nature to it and there’s a certain look ‘em in the face, tap them on the shoulder, hit ‘em a little bit. Move them around a little bit.
“Did you see this? Did you see what happened here? I gotta keep your attention. So the only way to do it was like, this is what I do at dinner. I’m gonna tell a story and make it good. So I feel like I’m at dinner, trying to tell a story and keep your attention.”
It didn’t take Romo very long to figure things out, at least. He was pretty instantly one of the best broadcasters in all of football.
Romo will be on the call for the Chiefs vs. Browns game in Week 1 on CBS.
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