Sports

Tony Romo and Jim Nantz Destroy the Competition to Become the NFL’s Highest-Rated Broadcast Team

In our analytics-obsessed age, performance metrics are more important than ever. They help teams build better rosters and analysts compare players from different eras. The data-driven approach is also helping evaluate other aspects of sports media. For example, Awful Announcing developed a system to rate and compare NFL broadcasters.

Let’s look at that system and investigate how Tony Romo and Jim Nantz destroyed the competition to become the highest-rated broadcast team.

Awful Announcing’s scoring system

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Awful Announcing’s scoring system is admittedly a little less sophisticated than the analytics NFL teams use to gain a competitive advantage. Yet it harnessed what’s perhaps the most important metric for analyzing announcer success: fan popularity.

Fans who responded to the poll assigned a letter grade (A through F) to various broadcast teams. Not every fan who responded ranked every broadcasting combo. Yet of the 48,000 total votes cast, each broadcast team received at least 3,000 votes.

Awful Announcing then converted those raw grades to a four-point scale using the following formula: the number of A votes times four, plus the number of B votes times three, plus the number of C votes times two, plus the number of D votes times one, divided by the total number of votes.

Tony Romo and Jim Nantz’s ranking unveiled

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We’ve already spoiled the reveal that Romo and Nantz won the top spot on Awful Announcing’s list. Now let’s take a closer look at how the voting broke down. The CBS duo received a total of 3,807 votes, which broke down as follows: 2,520 A votes, 1,013 B votes, 185 C votes, 39 D votes, and 50 F votes.

Once you crunch those numbers, you come out with a score of 3.55. That averages out to a solid B+ rating, better than any of the 13 other broadcasting combos. It’s also better than the 3.29 score Romo and Nantz received with their No. 1 ranking from last year. The second-best team was NBC’s Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, who scored 3.36.

Why Romo and Nantz are so popular

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It’s hard to understand exactly why Romo and Nantz work so well together, especially when you consider that Romo had no broadcasting experience whatsoever when he took the job back in 2017. Yet almost immediately it became clear that the two had an excellent rapport. Romo also has an insider’s perspective on the game, which he is able to convey with true enthusiasm.

Nantz meanwhile is a broadcasting pro par excellence. His suavity and skill smoothed over any bumpiness that occurred as Romo transitioned into his new role. Nantz can also bring a little levity to the booth. For instance, reports The Spun, last January he subtly needled Romo about it being the five-year anniversary of Romo’s Cowboys tough loss to Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers in 2015.

Of course, as talented as Nantz may be, CBS seems to understand that Romo is their biggest prize. They proved it last February when they made Romo the highest-paid analyst in NFL, with a five-plus year contract that will see Romo pull down a staggering $17 million per year. Nantz, meanwhile, reportedly makes around $5 million a year.

Fortunately, it doesn’t seem that difference in salary will come between the two men. Nantz was quick to express his enthusiasm when the news of Romo’s new deal broken, saying that he was “ecstatic times 10” to get to continue spending time with Romo in the booth.