The only soul at Lambeau Field who wasn’t annoyed by a lightning delay in the Packers-Bears game on Thursday night was CBS broadcaster/large child Tony Romo.
At the end of the first quarter, with the Bears down 14 and trying to formulate a drive that didn’t end in a Mike Glennon fumble, lightning flashed near the stadium, and the teams were taken to their locker rooms. Romo, sitting in the booth with Jim Nantz and experiencing the first delay of his new broadcasting career, made the most of the experience.
“This is insane—look at the wind!” Romo exclaimed as images of Packers fans, bundled up in rain ponchos filled the screen. “I feel like I’m watching American Beauty!”
Romo, who grew up in Wisconsin, has surely seen this kind of weather before. But based on the wonderment in his voice, one would assume the man has never stepped outside before (considering the years he played under a retractable roof in Dallas, maybe his naïveté can be slightly forgiven). But ever since Romo stepped into the booth this season, he has become a new version of himself; a kind of broadcasting superhero: Mr. Enthusiasm.
For more examples of his fresh-faced outlook on life, look no further than his praise of Aaron Rodgers earlier on Thursday night. During a replay of Rodgers’s first-quarter touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, Romo affectionately referred to Rodgers as “Aaron” while good-naturedly chuckling at the ease with which Rodgers and his receivers fooled Chicago’s defense.
Romo also held a soft spot for Rodgers in last Sunday’s contest against Cincinnati (also at Lambeau). With Green Bay down late to the Bengals, Romo expressed his confidence in the Packers QB coming through in the clutch.
And later, when the Packers had managed to get the game into overtime—proving Romo’s intuition right—Rodgers threw a 72-yard laser to Geronimo Allison to bring Green Bay within field goal range. Romo had more praise for Rodgers, saying he is one of “maybe two guys on the planet” able to make a throw of that magnitude.
Romo has broadcast only four games so far, and with two coming at Lambeau, there have been plenty of chances for him to praise Rodgers—chances he’s taken full advantage of. It’s easy to speculate why. Romo grew up as a Packers fan, and while watching the success Rodgers has had in his career (a Super Bowl win and multiple MVP awards), back injuries kept Romo from getting that far in Dallas. He had a successful career in his own right, but it’s not a stretch to think that Rodgers was the type of QB Romo once dreamed he would become. Now, he’s admiring him from the booth.
Romo has shown a new lease on life as a broadcaster, earning rave reviews in his new gig. Maybe his presence in the booth works because he’s knowledgeable and can call out plays based on teams’ formations. Maybe it’s because he’s found an early rapport with Nantz, and they’ve called some good games.
Or maybe it’s because his enthusiasm for the game is unmatched—and there’s no better example of that than his excitement regarding Rodgers.