New York Daily News

COWBOY UP!

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While the Chiefs and Bills will be in Arrowhead Sunday, looking to win a trip to the Super Bowl, a former quarterbac­k, Tony Romo, will be seeking broadcast redemption.

By re-signing him to a whopping $17.5 million per year contract in February 2020, CBS set the bar high for Romo. But Romo had already set that bar much higher. Working with Jim Nantz, Romo came out smoking his first year (2017) in the booth. His ability to predict plays before they happened was the hook that got him over with critics and on social media.

CBS Sports positioned Romo as a cat who redefined the football analyst’s role.

Romo’s breezy, laid-back personalit­y and sense of humor — his overall likeabilit­y — added another dimension to his presentati­on.

Unfortunat­ely, the balance has tilted. Romo now deals more from a deck of fluff, filler and hype. He yells. He giggles. He pokes fun at Nantz, often using him as his straight-man.

The once infallible Romo gets rules wrong (like that out of bounds play late in Browns-Chiefs last week). And when he gets a ruling wrong, or is over-ruled by either Nantz or rules analyst Gene Steratore, Romo casually lets it go rather than offering a mea culpa to viewers. It’s gotten to the point where even Nantz, on occasion, has taken good-natured but subtle shots at some of Romo’s analysis.

The nature of critiquing an analyst, like Romo or Cris Collinswor­th or Troy Aikman is totally subjective. Yet when you are paid as much as Romo is, and your network bills you as the best in the business, you should regularly dish insights no one else can. Yet, in the divisional BrownsChie­fs matchup, in the clutch, Romo came up empty.

With just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, K.C. with the ball up 22-17, facing a fourth-andinches from the 50, Romo predicted the Chiefs were “trying to draw them offsides.” Aunt Tilly could have guessed that! Romo repeated his initial analysis twice then said: “No play, everybody. Don’t jump (offsides). There’s no play. Just look at the body language.”

As you now know, as Nantz said, “there is a play.” Chad Henne hit Tyreek Hill for a game-clinching first down. Presumably while wiping egg off his face, Romo went into scream-mode saying how “only Andy Reid” had the stones to call that kind of play with so much on the line. Romo was taking the onus off of himself for not recognizin­g what was about to go down. Romo was covering his own posterior.

Sorry, and again, when you are the highest paid NFL TV analyst in the business, when CBS, and much of the media, hypes you as a football soothsayer, you should take the fall when cracks start appearing in your own game. You should be held to a higher standard.

After all, they all told you that you’re better than the rest, right?

NO PASSAN GRADE

A year in jail didn’t strip Craig Carton of his ability to get under someone’s skin.

Still, it was surprising that during an appearance on ESPN-98.7 s “The Michael Kay Show,” ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who teamed with Mina Kimes on a stunning piece revealing how

Jared Porter sexually harassed a female reporter who covered baseball for a foreign outlet, torched “another radio station in New York (WFAN) that’s been pretty damn irresponsi­ble today about its coverage of this.”

Porter was fired by the Mets early Tuesday morning. Passan neither mentioned Carton or his partner Evan Roberts or WFAN by name. Passan was upset because Carton/Roberts wondered why ESPN sat on the story since 2017. Passan explained ESPN was protecting the woman, who “wasn’t ready” for her story to be told. Passan, Kimes, and the editors of the story did the right thing.

Nonetheles­s, while it was likely not his intention, Passan came off more concerned about his own feelings and how “another radio station” commented on HIS story. He could have used the time more productive­ly by telling listeners about the story itself and what other ramificati­ons he hopes it has.

Passan spent more than half of the 12-minute interview being angry at WFAN, and apparently Carton/Roberts, who pushed the button triggering that anger, which is a skill — especially when you’re involved in a high-stakes ratings competitio­n.

MESSAGE DELIVERED

Saleh immediatel­y controlled the message he wanted the media to convey less than a minute into his introducto­ry press conference saying: “Get used to the mantra: all gas, no brake.”

He left the Zoomites with no room for interpreta­tion. The reaction from notebooks and cameras was all positive. Those who looked for something negative to pick at found no meat on the bone. The prediction is a long media honeymoon for Saleh.

He clearly has the chops to do his own media stuff. Saleh will likely do the Jets in-house coach’s show, which airs Sunday mornings during the season on Ch. 2. SportsNet New York, TV home of the Jets, does not have a coach’s show.

Will Saleh do a weekly radio spot on Jets radio flagship ESPN-98.7?

Adam Gase nixed that opportunit­y (turned out to be a good idea) while Todd Bowles took the heat each week.

If Saleh does go radio, will it move Giants coach Joe Judge to do the same on WFAN?

CASH TRASH

Since most Gasbags, and commentato­rs from other media precincts, have rolled over for Brian Cashman during free agency, the Valley of the Stupid turns its lonely eyes to Chris Carlin.

On Monday, the ESPN-98.7 mouth, was once again heard trashing the Yankees GM. If anything, Carlin is showing he cannot and will not be sucked into Cashman’s media cocoon.

Carlin’s critiques have not led to his Yankee sources abandoning him.

According to Carlin, “some in the (Yankees) organizati­on” were “not happy” with Yankees face man Aaron Judge “for not answering questions” when he was injured last season.

Carlin has comprehens­ive video of everything Carlin. How soon before he gets video of him going one-on-one with Judge on a Zoom call?

 ?? AP ?? Tony Romo fumbled at worst possible moment during last week’s KC-Cleveland game.
AP Tony Romo fumbled at worst possible moment during last week’s KC-Cleveland game.

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