Tony Romo’s Super Bowl moment has finally arrived.
After so many devastating playoff defeats as the longtime Cowboys quarterback — and so much criticism, often unfair, regarding his play in the clutch — Romo heads to Super Bowl LIII to near-universal acclaim following his often prescient broadcast of the AFC Championship Game.
It isn’t how Romo envisioned starring in the Super Bowl, but it still feels like the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I’m anxious to see just the feelings going into it,” Romo said Wednesday on a CBS Sports conference call. “I’ve never broadcasted one, but I know how I felt going into the AFC Championship. That was such a big deal. It’ll be ramped up even more than that.
“The excitement level, it’s real.”
The level of focus on an analyst may be unprecedented when the Rams and Patriots play next weekend, but Romo said he doesn’t feel any pressure to reel off another round of precise play calls for the biggest audience of his second career.
“I try not to predetermine too much stuff because I feel like the game is the story and you’re just gonna call it,” Romo said. “Sometimes you just get passionate, and you get excited in the moment, and you start just talking out loud what’s going on through your brain. Sometimes you see a lot of stuff and you just try and articulate that to the people that are watching. …
“There’s no plan of doing it at all. I think sometimes it just happens and once in a blue moon you get lucky and you might say something right.
“I didn’t try to do it last [time]. I probably did it a little more last game than I had in previous ones because I felt like the moment was big and you just start talking in moments that are important. You don’t analyze it and come up with a plan of attack for it. Your natural instincts take over. … I’m just gonna go out and do what I normally do. Usually, if you’re pretty good at your job, you’ll figure out a way to make things work.”
Broadcast partner Jim Nantz expects it will likely happen again because he’s watched it happen so many times in their two years working together.
“When we have these key moments late in the game and we’re all dazzled at what he’s doing, it’s a testament to years and years of his work and preparation. He’s not guessing. He’s not getting some sort of message from the gods. He’s seeing what [Tom] Brady saw,” Nantz said.
“People think Tony’s a fortune teller. This isn’t guesswork. This isn’t psychic ability. This is a testimonial to a guy in his career who spent a lot of time figuring it out. … He sees a wrinkle, he sees an opening, and basically, he’s suggesting where the play should go.
“I think there have been many games where Tony was identical to that, it’s just that this was such a high-profile occasion.”
Now comes the biggest occasion in all of sports.