STATELINE — Tony Romo is making his first trip to the American Century Championship since 2012, but most of the talk Wednesday was on his new career.
Romo, who was released from the Dallas Cowboys after a 14-year career that saw him pass for nearly 35,000 yards, recently signed with CBS as an analyst. He joins Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson on the network’s top team.
“I’ve been grinding with CBS and getting ready for that,” he said during a press conference for the 28th annual ACC at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. “That part has been very exciting. I’m excited about the subtle improvement every week.
“The preparation has been fantastic. We have almost a boot camp set-up in the sense that there is just a lot of little things, when I started… when I took this job I really didn’t know. I didn’t know operationally how anything worked.”
Romo admitted he didn’t know where he was supposed to be looking during the game. Was he supposed to watch the field? Do you watch the monitor?
“And so all these little things that you had to learn the nuances of it, some people can tell you, but I really just wanted to experience it and go through it,” he said. “I give CBS credit for finding an avenue to make that happen. And we’ve done a great job with that in Dallas. Part of that has been working a couple times with Brad Sham, and that’s been fantastic.
“As an analyst I’m having to learn a lot, and I’m trying to create as many opportunities for myself to evaluate myself as I can, and that means doing it. It’s hard to find new avenues to do it over and over again. But I’m finding those, and it’s keeping the competitive nature in (me) going. It is keeping me close to the game, which I’m passionate about. It doesn’t feel a lot different because I’m still involved in football.”
Romo said in a recent interview with cbssports.com he did have some other media opportunities prior to accepting the CBS offer.
“I did talk to other networks, and I want to thank them as well, they were great throughout this process,” Romo said. “I felt a real connection with the CBS group and I just felt at this time that the opportunity to work with them is really a gift and a privilege.”
Sean McManus, CBS Sports chairman, is expecting big things from the former Dallas star.
“Tony has been one of the NFL’s biggest stars for the past decade, and we are thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports,” McManus told cbssports.com. “He will bring the same passion, enthusiasm and knowledge that he displayed on the field to the broadcast booth.
“He brings a fresh and insightful perspective to our viewers having just stepped off the field. We know Tony will quickly develop into a terrific analyst, and alongside Jim Nantz, will become a must-listen for fans each week.”
Romo is just the fifth lead analyst in CBS NFL history. The other four were Phil Simms, Pat Summerall, Tom Brookshier and John Madden. All four were well respected, so Romo has some big shoes to fill.
“I’ve got to go attack this just like football and see where I’m good and where I’m not,” Romo said in the cbssports.com interview. “The one thing I have always felt is if there is a strength of mine, it’s my ability to learn.”
Romo is now paid to have an opinion on anything football, and he was asked about ex-Nevada and 49ers star Colin Kaepernick, who’s currently without a team.
“I think the NFL has two real approaches, most organizations that I found they try to go by,” Romo said. “ One, they want to collect as much talent as possible, and two they want to make it about the team.
“And so with Colin Kaepernick, I firmly believe if they viewed him as their starting quarterback on day one he would be on a team right now. I believe he would be. I believe he’s good enough, no question, to be a backup in the National Football League. But when you’re the backup, part of that is playing a role on that team. So when you step out and do something, that can be almost talked about a lot and it’s not about football, sometimes that can go either way.”
As an analyst, Romo will certainly have more time to spend on his golf game. He has never finished worse than 12th at the ACC, and he has three second-place finishes.
“I’m excited. I’m excited to play golf; to compete a little bit again,” Romo told reporters. “I’ve been practicing a little bit. I usually come here trying to find my game, but I feel like I at least have a chance to hit it somewhat solid this week. We’ll see what kind of scores I can put up.”