Says Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post:

Tony Romo has become so popular with viewers for his ability to predict turns in a big game that Jim Nantz jokingly calls him “Romostradamus” and he could get a job at the Weather Channel predicting storm paths.

But the man who will be the lead analyst tonight for CBS on Super Bowl 53 emits a faint sigh at what he calls “my novelty act.” It’s not clairvoyance when Romo tells the viewer what to expect next. It’s not a guess. He knows. He knows because he sees the field like the great quarterback he was with the Dallas Cowboys and because coaches and players trust him enough to talk to him in that cipher-language of the game that only they understand.

“People think Tony is a fortune teller, but this isn’t guesswork or psychic ability,” Nantz said. “This is a testimonial to a guy who spent a lot of time in his career figuring it out. . . . He’s not guessing or getting some message from the gods. He sees a wrinkle; he sees an opening. He sees what Tom Brady saw.”

With the creased-smile deprecation that has charmed viewers, Romo says what he does as a color analyst is not all that hard. Asked to describe what he watches from the booth, he replied that he just starts with the personnel, then goes to the formation. He sizes up the protection, runs through the possible play calls for that situation, scans the one-on-one matchups, assesses the quirks and stances of the players, and checks his memory for the history and systems of the coaches and what they tend to call based on the down, distance and time on the clock. All in less than 30 seconds.

“I mean, I don’t think I’m really doing that much,” he said.

Among the things Romo establishes for the viewer is just how much we should honor the intelligence of NFL quarterbacks and their remarkable ability to absorb multiple stimuli and make snap judgments. Think about a pitcher, who has to study only one stationary batter at a time. Or a tennis player who has to read only one player’s serve. Now listen to Romo talk, and never again call an NFL quarterback a bum.

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