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Tony Romo excited to work Las Vegas Super Bowl for CBS

Tony Romo remembers better than most what the NFL’s attitude toward Las Vegas used to be.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback had a fantasy football convention that was supposed to take place in July 2015 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center canceled by the league because it didn’t want events connected to casinos. Nine years later, Romo is set to be one of the lead broadcasters for the first Las Vegas Super Bowl on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.

The NFL’s attitude toward the city has taken a 180-degree turn since the fantasy football fracas. That makes Romo in many ways the perfect color commentator to lead CBS’ coverage of the showdown between the 49ers and the Chiefs.

“It just shows the evolution,” Romo said. “I think it’s a great thing. I mean, the fact that we’re here is awesome. Maybe the biggest event Vegas has ever had, and that’s saying something because of what they’ve had here. So many big championship-level events. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Romo is working his third Super Bowl since his 2017 retirement. He and play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz previously called the Patriots’ win against the Rams in Super Bowl 53 and the Buccaneers’ 31-9 win against the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.

They will lead the broadcast team of the 22nd Super Bowl on CBS, the most by any network. The game also will be streamed on Paramount+.

Reporters Tracy Wolfson, Evan Washburn and Jay Feely and rules analyst Gene Steratore round out the on-air talent. It’s a group Romo is happy to be a part of as he wraps up his seventh season as a broadcaster.

“I think you’re always trying to do new things,” Romo said. “I feel like, for me, one area is I add humor in a lot of times. So the people who really know me kind of get it. So when I’m joking about Taylor Swift being the wife (of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce), not everyone gets it. But I feel like, to me, we’re on air for three hours and 15 minutes, sometimes three and a half. You’re trying to add some levity to it, but it’s really about the game and you’re always trying to make it about the game.”

A new feature this year is the Super Bowl will have an alternate broadcast.

Play-by-play announcer Noah Eagle and color analyst Nate Burleson will call the game on Nickelodeon, joined by two special guests. Voice actors Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke will appear in character as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Patrick Star,” respectively.

For Burleson, an NFL wide receiver from 2003 to 2013, the broadcast is a cool way to introduce young fans to football.

“It’s a lot more fun,” said Burleson, who believes the format brings out the “12-year-old Nate” in him. “When you’re working with kids and talented Nickelodeon characters, we don’t have to be so hard-core with the X’s and O’s. It’s more like a way to teach the game in a digestible manner while having fun.”

For Kenny, this is the latest fun twist for a role he’s been playing since 1999. “SpongeBob SquarePants” characters Sandy Cheeks and Larry the Lobster will also contribute to the broadcast.

“SpongeBob has just wound up in all these places that I wouldn’t expect him to be,” Kenny said. “You never know where SpongeBob is going to end up. And when you’re the voice of that character, you got to get dragged into all these crazy adventures, and 25 years later it’s still going on. It’s kind of cool that a job you’ve been doing for 25 years still has all these new dimensions.”

The main broadcast, according to CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, will feature plenty of flourishes outside the booth to support Nantz and Romo’s work.

CBS will have 165 cameras in and around Allegiant Stadium, three sky cams, 48 replay sources, 20 cameras embedded in pylons and three live drones outside as part of its coverage.

“I’ve never felt more confident going into a Super Bowl,” said McManus, who will retire this year after working his ninth Super Bowl with the network. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have in front of and behind the camera.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on X.

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