Analysis

Tony Romo follows footsteps of former NFL players in the booth

One thing has remained a constant through the years: The TV networks love high-profile, recently retired Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks.

Move over Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, here comes Tony Romo.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Romo will replace Phil Simms and join Jim Nantz on CBS' No. 1 team on the NFL. Street & Smith's Sports Business Daily's John Ourand first reported the development.

Even prior to Tuesday's news that the quarterback is set to retire for football, there was talk that Romo was going to fill the vacancy left by John Lynch, who departed to run the San Francisco 49ers, as the analyst on Fox Sports' No. 2 team, joining play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt.

A broadcast insider said Romo, 36, "checks all the boxes" when it comes to what the networks desire in a NFL analyst. He has the star power, given all the exposure the Cowboys receive every year, and he has an engaging personality.

"I'd make him my No. 1 draft choice," former Fox Sports executive Ed Goren told The Dallas Morning News.

However, making the immediate jump to a network's No. 1 NFL team could be a daunting task for Romo. Goren noted it is much easier for a former player to go directly from the field to the studio than working in a game booth. New analysts usually are caught off-guard at how quickly the game moves during a football telecast, and there's a steep learning curve in trying to deliver concise and relevant comments. Also, the scrutiny will be intense, with Romo working CBS' biggest games.

By contrast, Aikman, now the lead NFL analyst for Fox Sports, somewhat eased into the transition after retiring in 2000. He started out on Fox Sports' No. 2 announcing team, working with Dave Stockton and Daryl Johnston in 2001. After one season, Aikman was elevated to the network's No. 1 broadcast team alongside Joe Buck and analyst Cris Collinsworth.

Aikman, though, primed for TV work as an active player. He was a game analyst during the 1998 and 2000 NFL Europe League seasons, gaining valuable experience working for Fox Sports Net alongside Brad Sham.

Meredith also made the jump directly to the booth. After retiring following the 1969 season, Meredith signed on with ABC's Monday Night Football in 1970. However, "Dandy Don" was asked to play a more unconventional role, serving as the foil to Howard Cosell in their legendary pairing.

Staubach joined CBS as a game analyst in 1980 after his last game in 1979. He lasted only three seasons, though, opting to concentrate more on his real estate business.

Indeed, being a popular player hardly is a guarantee of success as a TV analyst. Joe Montana, who had little to say working in a short stint with NBC, heads a long list of superstars who failed to make an impact in front of a microphone.

Now it looks as if Romo will get his shot.

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