Tony Romo making a career change from Dallas Cowboys quarterback to NFL broadcaster has been one of the most seamless in football history. Following his retirement ahead of the 2017 season, Romo was hired by CBS to be the lead analyst for the network’s top broadcasting team alongside Jim Nantz, despite not having any previous experience.
Romo didn’t end up needing any. The former Pro Bowl passer got rave reviews from critics and fans alike by predicting numerous plays before they happened, bringing some extra energy into CBS’ broadcasts.
“I was excited to move into the booth and it felt good that people liked what I did last year,” Romo told Men’s Journal. “When I played football, I always prepared hard, but at the same time, you don’t know how it’ll be until you get out there. I tried to do the same in the booth, and I felt ready for it, but until you do it you don’t know if you’ll be any good. It was really fun to do it and it was great that people enjoyed my work as an analyst. I’m excited for Year 2. I’m excited about being with our team. Everyone works so hard, and I’m so lucky and excited to be a part of it.”
This season, Romo is also using his football knowledge to have fun with fans on the Corona Hotline, which was previously manned by current Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. On the hotline, Romo gives fans advice about gameday questions, fantasy football, predictions for each week of the NFL season, and reflections on his past career as a Cowboys star.
Romo caught up with Men’s Journal ahead of the season to speak about his transition to the broadcast booth, the NFL team he thinks can make a big jump this season, and his essential travel gear.
What are you most excited for in the 2018 NFL season when it comes to players and games you’ll get to call?
There are a lot of exciting things this season, but I think the most exciting thing is seeing all the young quarterback talent. I’m looking forward to seeing which guys in this group can take the next step this year. Guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady controlled it for so long, and you still have guys like Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger doing it, but everyone is getting older—Rodgers will still be around a while—but I’m excited to see who is going to step up into that void once the older guys retire. I think this year you’re going to see these young players step in. It’s clear from these guys that the future of the game is in good hands.
What team do you think can take the next step and make a Super Bowl run like the Eagles did in 2017?
I think Green Bay is going to be very difficult to beat with the things that they did this offseason. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I think they can be very good with the personnel they have, and we know they’ve always had the quarterback with Aaron Rodgers being there. His health is key, and having the quarterback is key, but a quarterback by himself can’t win the Super Bowl, and I think the Packers did enough to put themselves in position to make a run. Even with Tom Brady and the Patriots, they always put enough around him to get it done even if it didn’t seem quite like it, and I think the Packers are a team this year that can get it done.
What are you most excited about in working with the Corona Hotline?
It’s fun to interact with fans, and at the end of the day, you want to find your gameday beach during the football season since everyone is stressed out about their teams. Grabbing a Corona is a great way to calm down, and you can give a call to the hotline to just relax and have fun. It’s a great experience for everybody.
You love to play golf and have started to compete as an amateur. What do you enjoy most about playing?
For me, it’s really the competitive side that’s the most enjoyable part of it. I also enjoy working and trying to improve at something each day, and the daily feeling of working at something and getting a little bit better each time. That’s something I’ve been able to carry over from football and that’s something I love about golf.
As someone who travels a lot, do you have a piece of gear that’s essential for you to take on every trip?
As funny as this may sound, I think the number one thing for me is always to have a pair of sandals with you when you travel. I always like to have a pair, because I feel like people sometimes forget those and they really can come in handy. There have definitely been times where you’re just walking somewhere quickly, or around the room, and I’ve thought, ‘dang I wish I had those with me.’ There are times when you’re away when you don’t want to wear shoes, and having a nice pair of sandals to me is simple and essential for every trip.
What places have you enjoyed visiting the most?
My wife and I have traveled a bunch, and one area we really enjoyed was Cabo, Mexico when we went to the El Dorado Golf & Beach Club. I also went to London for a game and we’re dying to go back there and have some more time to explore. Another place we love is Italy, going there on vacation in the summer and getting on a boat is great.
What kind of activities do you like to do when you travel? Are you a lay on the beach guy or an active vacation guy?
I am more of an activity guy. I like laying on the beach a bit, but I like to do a bit more than that when I travel. I like hiking and paddleboarding, and whenever we go out to the lake when I go home to Wisconsin, we will do some wakeboarding and surfing behind the boat, that kind of stuff is great in the summer.
As someone who has to balance so much in your career, what advice do you have for regular guys about getting things done with a busy schedule?
It seems like a simple thing, but something I put a focus on and changed up was managing my energy. If you make sure you eat correctly through the day and take care by putting the right things in your body, you’ll have more energy to get through the day. I try and eat right and be aware of my energy levels through the day, because you can do things better at work, and then when you get home to your family and kids, you still can have that energy and enjoy time with them, too. I think having that energy and making sure you’re fueling right really makes a big difference, because you want to be able to balance everything in your life, and that can help you do it.