Dick Ebersol wants to make Tony Romo great again.
Ebersol, the legendary longtime former boss of NBC Sports, joined Chris Wallace on HBO Max for the latest edition of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” Ebersol lamented that Romo does not seem “into” broadcasting at the present time.
“I’ve known Tony Romo, since he first got to the pros. He’s an unbelievably engaging guy, he should have been a terrific, great broadcaster,” Ebersol said. “Something’s happened since he got into that chair. And it doesn’t seem like he’s into it. Like he was on his way up. He does not seem to be the storyteller that he should be. The thing that makes [Al] Michaels great, [Joe] Buck great, and all these guys are they’re really, they’re really storytellers. And Tony has gotten further and further away from that I think.”
Romo supplanted Phil Simms on CBS’ top NFL team alongside Jim Nantz in 2017 — and became the toast of the sports’ broadcasting world. He announced with immense enthusiasm for the sport, and his ability to predict offensive plays was uncanny. In 2020, Romo agreed to a new deal with CBS worth $17 million a year, which reset the announcing pay scale market and ultimately directly led to a frothy NFL announcing free agency this past offseason that saw Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit, Buck and Troy Aikman land blockbuster deals.
Ebersol does not see a high level of preparedness for the job out of Romo this season, but believes the situation to be salvageable.
“I’d love to be his producer for about six months,” Ebersol said. “I think I could cure this quickly.”
Asked what he’d say to get Romo to improve, Ebersol said he’d tell the broadcaster to “Get your head in the game. I mean, you’ve really got to work hard to be prepared. I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of phone calls and notes and stuff like that. But that is how I feel.”
Wallace, sensing the pickup these quotes would get, joked that Ebersol was welcome to pick other people to say controversial things about.
“No, but this is one that this is somebody who should be an announcer for the ages, but clearly has lost his passion for it,” Ebersol said. “And I would have him in my office often not to kick his ass, but just to keep reminding him of what put him there in the first place.”