Rams-Patriots Super Bowl dud presented a challenge for Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.
1. Very few things in life live up to hype and expectation. This was true Sunday night during Super Bowl LIII for people who tuned in for "The Tony Romo Show."
Don’t blame Romo, though. The game between the Rams and Patriots gave him nothing to work with. There was no excitement, no offense and no… nothing. Things were so bad on the field, I think we only got three "Here we go's" from Tony.
While the game was a complete dud from start to finish, Romo tried his best to salvage something. He was great at injecting his humor, he repeatedly told you how the Patriots defense was shutting down the Rams running game by going vertical instead of side-to-side and he nailed the clock management issues in the final couple of minutes.
But there was nothing Romo and play-by-play man Jim Nantz could've done to save the night. And keep in mind, the last game they called was the 37-31 thriller between the Patriots and Chiefs at legendary Arrowhead Stadium. Sunday night, they got stuck with a 13-3 snoozefest inside an antiseptic dome with a neutral crowd.
Some plusses from Nantz and Romo:
• Romo got the night started in spectacular fashion by saying, "I've been waiting to hear 'Welcome to the Super Bowl' my whole life," after Nantz intro'd him at the top of the broadcast.
• Romo didn't seem even the slightest bit nervous or over-the-top because it was "the Super Bowl." He called the game like any other game from the 17-week regular season. That's how it should be done.
• Both broadcasters openly mocked how boring the game was—usually a no-no for broadcasters to do.
• From start to finish, Nantz and Romo tried having fun with the game and never took things too seriously. Romo even screamed, "WE GOT POINTS" after Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked a field goal in the third quarter.
• Romo predicted Jim Nantz was jinxing Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski right before Gostkowski missed a field goal.
• Romo and Nantz went way too easy on the ref and the NFL for its dumb rule when the Rams got flagged in the first quarter for a penalty on what was basicaally tackling.
• While Bill Belichick deserves praise for stopping the high-powered Rams offense, Nantz and Romo were not critical enough of Jared Goff, who was awful. Yes, Belichick designed a great defensive plan to confuse Goff, but he also missed several wide open receivers.
• The predictions were few and far between for Romo.
The biggest broadcast highlight of the game, though, came after the game, when sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson tried to interview Tom Brady. Wolfson found herself in the middle of a gigantic scrum, but Brady kept her waiting as he shared hugs and kissed with teammates. But Wolfson never budged, never wavered and stood her ground until the six-time champion was ready to speak to her.
The bottom line is that the game was painful to watch, but would've been even more unbearable if Romo wasn't in the booth having a good time.
OVERALL BROADCAST GRADE: B+
2. The game was so bad that it generated the lowest rating for a Super Bowl since 2009. Two other factors that didn't help: Many people in L.A. don't care about NFL football and many people in New Orleans boycotted the game.
CBS drew a 44.9 overnight rating for Patriots-Rams last night, which was lowest-scoring Super Bowl yet. That figure is lowest for Super Bowl since Steelers-Cards drew 42.1 in 2009. Boston market got 57.4 (best for game since 2015). L.A. market 44.6 (best SB in L.A. since 1996)— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) February 4, 2019
3. Julian Edelman was the MVP and Bill Belichick is some freak genius and Tom Brady has six rings, but Gronk making this catch around three defenders was the play of the game and the future Hall of Famer isn't getting enough credit for his late receptions against the Chiefs and now the Rams in back-to-back games.
4. The biggest thing taking place on Twitter during the game was the outrage when Fox News anchor Dana Perino posted this:
Do yourself a favor and spend five minutes reading the replies. You won't be disappoined.
5. Snoop Dogg performed at a Rams rally on Saturday.
On Sunday, he performed at the Patriots' postgame party.
Come on, Calvin!
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with actor Steve Carell, who shared some great secrets about The Office. You can listen below or download it here.
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: No matter what Tom Brady does, this will always be my favorite Tom Brady video.
IN CLOSING: We are 241 days away from the first NFL game of the 2019 season.