Boomer Esiason to replace Tony Romo on CBS' call of Cardinals/Rams game due to COVID protocols

Jesse Pantuosco
January 03, 2021 - 11:11 am

If you were hoping to get your Tony Romo fix Sunday, I have some bad news. The former NFL star, now one of the most popular and well-compensated voices in sports media, won’t be in attendance when the Rams host Arizona in Sunday’s regular season finale, with CBS attributing his absence to “COVID protocols.”

That label doesn’t tell us much other than that Romo won’t be announcing Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Instead, play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz will be joined in the booth by Boomer Esiason, who the network has elevated from his usual role as studio analyst. This will be only the second game Romo has missed this year after the former quarterback earned a reprieve in Week 12, the result of Nantz being tied up with other responsibilities (he was calling the Masters Tournament in Augusta).

Romo’s former team, the Cowboys, are dealing with COVID issues of their own, which required them to stage a “virtual” practice Friday while their facility was shut down. The virus has also been making the rounds among broadcasters with Mike Tirico subbing in for Al Michaels (who reported no symptoms) on Sunday Night Football last month. Similarly, Kirk Herbstreit had to cover Friday’s Sugar Bowl for ESPN remotely following a positive test.

Hopefully Romo will be cleared for next week’s Wild Card round which, due to the expanded playoff field this year, will feature six games for the first time.

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