Miami Herald

Romo’s chatter ruined a great Super Bowl ending

- BY CINDY BOREN The Washington Post

Super Bowl LVIII hung in the balance in overtime and, if any game called for a simple “do you believe in miracles” moment, it was the longest game in Super Bowl history. Yet Jim Nantz and Tony Romo of CBS struggled in the biggest moment of the Kansas City Chiefs’ winning drive.

As the clock was winding down in overtime, Romo explained that, with the Chiefs down by three points and inside the 5yard line, time did not matter because the game would not end under postseason-only rules that were changed in 2022. If the clock reached zero, he noted, the game would just roll into a second OT period.

An important point about an unusual situation and new postseason rule, but Romo kept talking and Nantz, the play-by-play man who has made a career of coming up with the right words at the right time, had no entry point for setting up the final play.

As Patrick Mahomes was finding Mecole Hardman in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, Nantz could say only, “First and goal, Mahomes flings it! It’s there! Hardman! Jackpot! Kansas City!”

Romo chattered as Nantz made the call and, when Nantz finished, Romo went into analysis mode as CBS showed reaction shots. Rather than letting images tell the story, Romo was focused on the game-winning play, and Hardman’s return to the Chiefs after starting the season with the New York Jets.

“This was the Andy

Reid special, we talked about he was saving all day,” Romo said. “He is going to fake a motion to go across. That moment he turns and goes back — Hardman, who they didn’t have, right? And they go get Hardman and bring him back. The gamewinnin­g drive of Mahomes’ career, he has been waiting for. He’s won Super Bowls, but he’s never had it in an overtime. He is the best, he is the standard — Michael Jordan.”

Westwood One’s Kevin Harlan chose to be more “just the facts, ma’am” in his delivery of the final play.

“First and goal at the three, lining up and the clock’s at 10 seconds and ticking,” Harlan said. “In the shotgun Mahomes, four-man front, receiver in motion. Low snap, he runs and he throws — caught, touchdown. It’s caught! Hardman caught the ball!

“The Chiefs have won! The Chiefs have won! The entire bench empties, chasing Mahomes in the end zone. Their third Super Bowl in five years. The Chiefs are back-toback Super Bowl champions. It is a dynasty.”

That touchdown wasn’t the only less-than-seamless moment for Nantz and Romo, who together haul in around $30 million a year. In the first half, they missed the moment when tight end Travis Kelce accosted his 65year-old head coach, Andy Reid, on the sideline.

Kelce was angry at being replaced by Noah Gray on a red-zone play that ended in disaster when Gray struggled as he helped with blocking and running back Isiah Pacheco lost a fumble. CBS cut to a commercial and caught up with the incident when the broadcast resumed.

“He goes, ‘Keep me in,’” Romo said by way of analysis. “What happened is, on the fumble, he was not in the game. Noah Gray went in, and he had to block. Noah Gray, the tight end, had to block [Deommodore] Lenoir. Lenoir made him swim and actually created the fumble. And I think Kelce is like, ‘Just keep me in there, even if we are running the ball.’”

As it was much of the season, social media criticism of Romo’s performanc­e was intense, a marked turnabout from the adoration the analyst received five years ago for predicting a series of plays between the Chiefs and New England Patriots in the AFC championsh­ip game.

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