Two weeks ago, we learned recently retired former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who has no broadcasting experience, has landed a role on CBS' No. 1 NFL broadcasting team. Romo has taken the spot of Phil Simms, who provided color commentary in the top spot since 1998.
Romo was certainly coveted among networks, and CBS put together quite an offer to woo him. Simms has been moved to a studio role on The NFL Today, we learned Wednesday.
Simms spoke with Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch about his perspective on the change.
“Listen, I didn’t make any comments for a lot of reasons and you want to sit there and think about it. Initially was my pride hurt? Absolutely. Of course it was…So it took a little bit. Not long. I started thinking about it in a positive way and then I became excited about it. [CBS Sports Chairman] Sean [McManus] had talked to me over the years about maybe going into the studio. I now get to follow the league like I want to. That was probably the most frustrating thing about my job. You do one or two games a week, you can’t really pay attention to the other teams like I wanted to do. When you do games, you are all-in on those games. On Inside The NFL, I get to say things about stuff that I never get to say in a broadcast.”
Simms will take the place of Tony Gonzalez, who left Inside The NFL of his own accord earlier this year. Gonzalez said he no longer wants to travel from the West Coast to New York to film the show.
Simms seems to have a solid perspective on what was an all-around surprising decision by CBS. It's quite bold to put an inexperienced broadcaster in that top spot, and it's also bold to unceremoniously replace someone who's been doing it for as long as Simms.
Chris Simms, Phil's son, said on his podcast that he thinks Jim Nantz signed off on the decision.
“I think that certainly a company like CBS, they’re going to run this by Jim Nantz," Chris Simms said. "If I’m going to sit here and be honest with you, yeah that’s what I would envision happens. Jim Nantz is their guy. He is ‘Hello friends.’ He’s kind of the face and voice of the network, and he’s a bigger linchpin than Phil Simms for that network, that’s for sure. I would think in some degree or fashion—I’m not trying to throw Jim under the bus—but yeah, I would think that he signed off on this to some degree.”
Being the No. 1 color commentator for CBS' NFL coverage is a really big deal. Certainly the network has high expectations for Romo, whom many expected to return to football as a player. It'll be interesting to tune into his broadcasts this season and see how the experiment plays out.
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