Jim Nantz and Tony Romo aren't letting the scrutiny faze them as they prepare to call their third Super Bowl together for CBS.
This will be Nantz's seventh Super Bowl overall. Ahead of the big game, the 63-year-old spoke to Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated about whether the backlash against his on-air partner has bothered either of them.
"I mean, I take it kind of as a foregone conclusion from what people tell me that everybody gets [criticism]," he said. “Never had one conversation with Tony about it.”
Nantz went on to say that he doesn't even see the negative feedback.
"Now people say, 'Oh, wait a minute, don't people send you sometimes clips or something on Twitter?' Sure," he added. "But how I would get from there to see what people are saying about Tony? No. I wouldn't even think about it. I'm gonna use my own judgment of how the broadcasts are going, and I couldn't be happier."
Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Las Vegas, Romo also downplayed the critiques.
"I was the quarterback for the Cowboys for many years, so," Romo said. "These are small potatoes."
Last offseason, CBS reportedly staged an intervention to improve Romo's broadcast skills and preparation. The network later denied that claim, but the New York Post's report also alleged that Romo and Nantz weren't working well together. Back then, Nantz called out critics for spreading "misinformation" and furthering an "agenda."
Almost a year later, Romo has become a meme for seemingly using variations of the phrase “Ohhh I don’t know, Jim,” when he doesn't know what else to add to the broadcast. On Tuesday, The Ringer published a column detailing how Romo rarely names players on the field other than the quarterbacks.
Last month, the New York Post took issue with Romo's expressing shock about how impactful Jaylen Warren was ahead of the AFC wild-card round, even though the running back was important for the Pittsburgh Steelers all season. Additionally, Romo was accused of being "late to recognize big plays and mistakenly calling incompletions as catches and vice versa."
He also raised some eyebrows when he twice referred to global pop star Taylor Swift as Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce's "wife," which he has claimed was his form of humor.
Nantz maintains that Romo's unique style isn't an issue and that he's not aware of the critiques.
"I love working with Tony," Nantz said in his most recent defense of Romo. "For anybody to ever even think that ... well, again, I'm not even sure this is what they're saying. Our chemistry is great. Our time together is just like it is on the air. We have a lot of laughter, a lot of fun. We see silliness. Sometimes we bring that silliness to the air. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. That's humor. But, no, I don't wanna say any more about it because you're asking me something that I'm not familiar with."
While Romo signed a $180 million extension with CBS in 2020 that will keep him with the network through 2030, NFL legend Tom Brady's arrival to the Fox booth could take some of the heat off the other former quarterback. Plus, Brady's salary is reportedly double Romo’s.
In the meantime, Nantz has high hopes for Sunday's broadcast.
"We're trying the best we can," he said. "I think we've had, I know we've had, a super year, and I really feel good about it going into the game."