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Tony Romo played Madden to prepare for broadcasting, ended up beating top players instead

Tony Romo

Following months of anticipation, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made his debut in the broadcast booth on Sunday, and he has since received rave reviews about his performance.

Prior to that, Romo took an interesting approach to prepare himself for his new career, as Cousin Sal from the Jimmy Kimmel Show revealed during an interview on the Bill Simmons Podcast that the 37-year old played Madden to listen to the commentary, but things took a surprising turn as he began playing and beating some of the top players online.

“We were over at Tony Romo’s house, Jimmy Kimmel and I, and he’s talking about broadcasting. It was this summer, and he showed us [a tape of him calling] the Chiefs-Falcons game. That was the one where [Eric] Berry ran [a two-point conversion] back. So he called that again and showed us. And I said, “You know what you should do, you should watch Madden and see what the play-by-play is and the color commentary. Then you can see what’s marketable, you can see what you want to stay away from or go with.” And he’s like, “That’s a great idea.” So he puts Madden on, and he plays. And we end up watching him play all afternoon, beating up on these 12-year-olds. He’s not listening for a second to the color commentary, and Jimmy’s like, “Did you realize you didn’t listen at all to what they’re saying?” He’s like, “I know, I’ve got to beat this guy.” And he was changing every play at the line, because he would see what the defense is, and he’d go for 13 yards on an offensive play. It was spectacular.”

Romo’s vast knowledge of playing in the NFL for well over a decade came to his advantage as he was able to dissect defensive sets before each play. He has likely seen every set in the game with much more complicated concepts, making it a simple task for him to choose the correct play call to move the ball down the field.

He put that knowledge on full display in his first regular season broadcast between the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans, where he predicted many of the plays before they occurred. His insight as an experienced NFL quarterback allowed him to make a smooth transition into the booth alongside Jim Nance.

Ultimately, this antidote only builds the anticipation for what lies ahead in Tony’s first season as CBS’ top color commentator.