On Sunday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made his much-anticipated debut in the TV booth as a colour commentator for CBS.
By most accounts, Romo’s first effort was a resounding success even though one of his plans to prepare for the new role completely backfired.
Sal Iacono is a writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and is also known as “Cousin Sal” as a regular guest on “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” During an appearance Monday on Simmons’ show, Iacono told a funny story about Romo prepping for his new gig.
According to Iacono, he was at Romo’s house over the summer along with Kimmel when the topic of Romo’s new TV job came up. At one point, while Romo was showing the group a practice tape he made in which he called a game from the 2016 season, it was suggested to Romo that he play the popular video game, “Madden,” to get some ideas on what to say.
While the idea may sound absurd on the surface — and it is quite possible the suggestion was made half-jokingly — it is not crazy to think that the producers of “Madden” put a lot of effort into producing realistic dialogue and research what works, what sells, and what people don’t like.
“I said, ‘You know what you should do,'” Iacono told Simmons. “‘You should watch ‘Madden’ and see what the play-by-play is and the colour commentary. Then you can see what is marketable and you can see what you want to stay away from and what to go with. He says, ‘That’s a great idea.’ So he puts ‘Madden’ on and he plays.”
Unfortunately, we will never know if the idea was a good one because Romo is not only really good at “Madden” — Romo is so highly rated that he is only playing other players who are also among the highest-rated in the world — he is also apparently hyper-competitive, and the plan completely backfired.
“We end up watching him play all afternoon, beating up on these 12-year-olds,” Iacono said. “He’s not listening to a second of the colour commentary. Jimmy’s like, ‘Do you realise you didn’t listen at all to what they were saying?’ [Romo] was like, ‘I know, I’ve got to beat this guy.'”
Iacono went on to explain that one thing that makes Romo so good at “Madden,” is also one of the things that people raved about during his TV debut. That is, Romo can anticipate what teams are doing by the way they set up. Just as Romo correctly predicted numerous plays during the game on CBS, he also routinely knew exactly what audible to call in “Madden” based on what formation his opponent was in, and according to Iacono it worked every time.
You can hear the story at the 31:20 mark in the episode below:
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