Boomer Esiason Subbed for Tony Romo on CBS and Insulted a Nation
While filling in for Tony Romo on the final weekend of the NFL regular season, Boomer Esiason forgot the No. 1 rule of credible football analysis: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw interceptions – uh, we mean stones.
Esiason made a gratuitous comment about Arizona Cardinals quarterback Chris Streveler that didn’t play well north of the border. In criticizing Streveler, an emergency replacement for Kyler Murray, Esiason forgot that he was backup equipment himself during NFL Week 17.
Why was Boomer Esiason subbing for Tony Romo?
The Kansas City Chiefs had already clinched the home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, so they had the luxury of resting star quarterback Patrick Mahomes during a 38-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
However, that was not the story behind another noteworthy benching to wrap up the 2020 NFL regular season. CBS wanted it’s No. 1 booth team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo to handle the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, a game with playoff implications. But Romo proved to be a late scratch when network learned that he needed miss to the game due to COVID-19 protocols.
It wasn’t clear whether Romo had tested positive for the coronavirus or if he had been affected by contact tracing. But his lack of availability meant CBS had to resort to the next man up. In this instance, that was former quarterback Boomer Esiason.
Esiason is a broadcast veteran who began working as a TV analyst during World League of American Football games in the NFL offseason while he was still playing professionally. He spent two seasons in ABC’s Monday Night Football booth in the late 1990s after the departure of Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf, and before the arrival of Dennis Miller and Dan Fouts.
Following that, he went to Westwood One radio as the lead NFL analyst and worked 19 consecutive Super Bowls. He remains heavily involved as a studio analyst for the CBS pregame show and Inside the NFL on Showtime in addition to his daily radio show in New York City.
His NFL career last 14 seasons
Before going into radio and TV work, Boomer Esiason enjoyed a 14-year career as an NFL quarterback. Drafted in the second round out of Maryland in 1984, Esiason played nine seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals before bouncing around to the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, and back to Cincinnati.
Until Joe Burrow leads the franchise out of the abyss, Esiason will hold the distinction of being the last quarterback to win playoff games for the Bengals. He led them to the Super Bowl after the 1988 season and won a wildcard game two years later. Cincinnati is 0-7 in the postseason since.
Esiason’s career got off to a promising start with 27 touchdown passes and just 12 interceptions in his first full season in 1985, and he made the first of his first Pro Bowl teams the following season. However, he never led the league in a major statistical category other than passer rating in 1988 and most interceptions thrown in 1990.
For his career, he finished with 247 TD passes and 184 interceptions – not exactly a stellar ratio. In fact, he threw more picks than TDs over the course of a season four times in his career.
Boomer Esiason took a cheap shot at an NFL rookie and the CFL
With quarterback Kyler Murray hobbled by an injury early in the Arizona Cardinals’ 18-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Cardinals had to call upon Chris Streveler, an NFL rookie. Streveler was primarily a run-package QB when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup in 2019, and his NFL experience before Week 17 consisted of one rushing attempt in the 2020 opener.
Streveler finished 11-for-16 for 105 yards and a touchdown in relief of Murray, but he also threw an interception that Troy Hill of the Rams returned 84 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. After the play, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason put Streveler on blast.
“What a horrific mistake by Streveler,” he said, as transcribed by Awful Announcing. “He throws it in between three Rams defenders as he is getting hit in the pocket. You know, this isn’t the Grey Cup, this isn’t the CFL, and you can’t just take chances and throw the ball down the middle of the field and expect somebody not to come down with it.”
Streveler was under pressure from an unimpeded edge rusher when he released the pass. The throw was halfway between the hash marks and the sideline as opposed to the middle of the field. Streveler’s mistake was that he underthrew the ball, which has nothing to do with the CFL or the NFL; quarterbacks in either league have made the same mistake probably 10,000 times in the history of the sport.
In his eagerness to criticize, maybe Esiason could have asked why coach Kliff Kingsbury thought that was a good play-call for the ninth throw of Streveler’s career.
Maybe it wasn’t Kingsbury’s fault, but it had nothing to do with the CFL, either.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.