1. The second time was not the charm for Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.
CBS’s top NFL broadcast team worked its first Super Bowl together two years ago when the Patriots beat the Rams, 13–3. It was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history and, as Nantz pointed out to me last week, featured just one play in the red zone.
Surely, everyone thought, Nantz and Romo would get a better game for Super Bowl LV. They did not. In 2019, Nantz and Romo got one play in the red zone. In 2021, they got ZERO Chiefs touchdowns.
Every year, the Monday after the Super Bowl, I review the broadcast. This year, I don’t have much to say. What is there to say? The second half of the game was completely unwatchable. Nantz and Romo never had a moment to shine. They never had a chance to give us a memorable line. They never had a chance to enhance the excitement.
Nantz, as he always does, came prepared with some good nuggets, noting that before Sunday, Brady had never thrown a touchdown pass in the first quarter of a Super Bowl and the Super Bowl had never featured a 99-yard touchdown drive. Romo was on top of the Bucs’ defensive scheme and explained why double coverage on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill was so effective.
But by the time Leonard Fournette scored on a 27-yard touchdown run to give Tampa Bay a 28–9 lead with 7:45 left in the third quarter, the game was over and the broadcast’s chances to make any impactful calls were zero.
Nantz and Romo were also hurt by the fact that the Bucs' 31–9 win was a result of 1) Todd Bowles and Tampa Bay’s defense having an incredible night; 2) the Chiefs committing an embarrassing number of penalties; 3) the refs being horrible; 4) Kansas City’s offensive line problems; and 5) Tom Brady.
There’s nothing left to say about Brady, despite the fact that he won his seventh Super Bowl last night. He was the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL before last night’s game. Every superlative that exists has been used to sum up his career, repeatedly. His career speaks for itself.
But while there isn’t a ton to say about the telecast, CBS did a very nice job with its never-ending pregame show. Pregame shows are never going to be must-see TV and you’re going to get a lot of “Rah rah, the NFL is great, rah, rah” on them, but CBS managed to entertain as well as wave the pompoms.
Its Whitney Houston feature was a nice trip down memory lane.
James Brown did an excellent job calling out the NFL for its lack of diversity among head coaches.
Nate Burleson was used several times as a host instead of an analyst, and he did an excellent job.
And props to Bill Cowher for being the only panelist to pick the Bucs to win the game.
2. While Nantz and Romo never got a chance to shine Sunday night, Kevin Harlan, calling the Super Bowl for Westwood One Radio, did—and he made the most of it. Once again Harlan did play-by-play of a streaker running onto the field, and it was tremendous.
You will recall Harlan did this once before in 2016.
3. I'm not a commercials person and I watched maybe half of the ones that aired last night. Fortunately, I caught the Jason Alexander ad.
For anyone out there who hasn't watched every episode of Seinfeld, 1) What is wrong with you?, and 2) Here is the context for the commercial.
4. The meme of the night came from The Weeknd's halftime performance. The tweet of the night came from Dan Rather about the meme that came from The Weeknd's halftime performance.
5. The latest SI Media Podcast features a roundtable conversation with Erin Andrews and Kyle Brandt.
You can also watch the podcast on YouTube.
6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: If you missed it over the weekend, Saturday Night Live spoofed CBS's NFL Today pregame show.
7. It's very difficult to transition from Super Bowl talk to the acknowledgment of someone's passing, but during last night's game, the shocking news broke that longtime ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez had passed away at 58.
Take a minute to read this thread by Gomez's colleague, Howard Bryant.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.