LAS VEGAS - Tony Romo is no stranger to criticism, as both the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys and now as the lead analyst for CBS Sports ... and here in Las Vegas on the call for Sunday's Super Bowl alongside Jim Nantz.
Romo has astutely pointed out that the arc of his career is a familiar one when it comes to criticism; a darling early, a target later ... and, probably, a respected institution eventually.
But even his big boss, CBS Sports president Sean McManus, acknowledges that there have been growing pains in Romo's evolution in this big TV chair, revealing that he has been urged to "calm down'' in his excitable "fan-like'' presentation.
“I think if people really listen to Tony, and he’s not your meat-and-potatoes analyst,'' McManus said. "He’s more of a fan. He gets excited. We sometimes say to him, ‘Hey, calm down a little bit because you do get too into the game,’ which I think is a plus.''
It can be a plus. But Romo has also been criticized for being "too silly'' while teaming with Nantz. (The Taylor Swift obsession would be in this category.) And some wonder about his depth of preparation. And others insist he should revert back to that "magic trick'' of his first season in the booth when he developed a habit of "predicting plays.''
SI's Jimmy Traina writes, "I still like Romo as a broadcaster and I do think a lot of the social media backlash is a pile on. But I’ve also said it would help Romo if he toned down the hyperbole he sometimes gets wrapped up in, so it was interesting to hear McManus admit they sometimes tell Tony to chill.''
Also interesting from the interview with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on SiriusXM: McManus conceded that Sunday’s Chiefs vs. Niners Super Bowl is an "important game'' for Romo to be able to silence some of his critics.
“I do believe that because of some of the criticism, most of which I think is undeserved … I think it’s an important game for him no matter what,” McManus said.
Maybe. But the critics are going to critique. The arc is going to arc. And in the social-media cesspool that we've all created for ourselves, the nastiness might never go away.
“When social media starts to turn,'' McManus said, "it really turns and it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The people who really like Tony tend not to tweet. It’s mostly the negative. You get two tweets and then people pile on.”