SportsPulse: We take you inside the press conference room to hear what Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Rob Gronkowski had to say after winning Super Bowl LIII.
It was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, an offensive nightmare of a game in which punting was the main attraction and a touchdown wasn’t scored until there were only seven minutes left, but look at the bright side:
At least we could listen to Tony Romo.
A color analyst exists in the universe to tell us something we don’t know about what we’re watching on TV and to serve as our proxy of sorts at the game. He (or she) is there for us. Tell us something new and different. Tell us something funny. Keep us interested.
This was a particularly daunting challenge in the New England Patriots’ snoozy 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams Sunday night, but, tested as perhaps no other analyst has ever been at a Super Bowl, Romo rose to the occasion.
“I can’t believe it. We got points! 3-3 and it feels like we got a scoring spree going on!”
That was Romo, speaking for all of us, when Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein hit his 53-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Romo, 38, has quickly built a reputation in his two years in the booth as a nimble prognosticator of what will happen next in a game, but it was his humor that made a surprisingly lackluster matchup bearable Sunday night.
“Welcome to the Super Bowl, Tony Romo,” said his partner Jim Nantz, opening the broadcast.
“I’ve been waiting to hear ‘Welcome to the Super Bowl’ my whole life,” Romo replied.
Now that was funny. Perhaps it was all set up in a production meeting, but Romo delivered the self-deprecating line with aplomb, and who among us didn’t laugh as he smiled, knowing that he had never made it out of the divisional round of the playoffs in 14 seasons at quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys.
It soon became clear that the action on the field needed some augmentation from the booth, so Romo happily obliged.
“Bill Belichick has a way of not letting high-flying offenses come out and show you how high flying they are,” was an observation that played well all evening.
When the Rams defense was caught with too many men on the field in the second quarter, Romo went with hyperbole:
“It was more than 12 men. There was 13 to 18 out there.”
CBS put up a graphic at one point that was startling: the Rams’ first eight possessions all ended in punts. Romo circled the word “Punt” on the screen in yellow all eight times.
“I’m just circling,” he said. “It’s hard to read. Punt after punt after punt. … If you like offensive football, well too bad. But if you like defensive football, then there you go.”
What Romo understands so well about his TV gig is that predicting what is going to happen is pure fun, no matter if he’s right or wrong. (He’s mostly right.)
So when the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski lined up for the clinching 41-yard field goal with little more than a minute remaining in the game, Romo blurted out, “I’m going out on a limb to say this is going to win the Super Bowl.”
It wasn’t exactly the craziest guess of the night – millions of people watching undoubtedly had the exact same thought – but Romo possesses the unbridled confidence to put himself out there on national television, and do it all the time, which is endlessly entertaining, especially on a night when we really needed it.
Follow Chrstine Brennan on Twitter @cbrennansports.