During Tony Romo's 13 years as an NFL quarterback, he - more than most - was ridiculed, mocked, and insulted on a regular basis.
Being the star QB of the Dallas Cowboys - almost certainly the most disliked team in the NFL - didn't help, but Romo was regularly abused for being a "choke artist" for his inability to get the Cowboys to a Super Bowl and an unfortunate knack for costly turnovers at important times.
That is why when CBS confirmed that they were adding Romo to their commentary booth for their live games, most expected him to continue to be a hate-figure judging by how senstitive sports fans can be when it comes to the people that tell them about what they are watching.
Instead, the exact opposite has happened. Romo is being hailed as the best in the business, despite only working in the business for about two months. NFL players are even coming out and expressing their delight at his analysis:
Tony Romo nice with the broadcast!!! insights surreal
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) October 27, 2017
— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshall) October 20, 2017
So what does he do so well?
Firstly, Romo was an active NFL quarterback as recently as last season, this means he often knows exactly what plays the offence or defence are running, and can inform the viewer seconds before it happens.
A good example is this clip where he literally draws up what is going to happen seconds before the play unfolds exactly as he predicted.
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) October 20, 2017
Also key for Romo is his attitude. Without taking things too seriously, you do get the feeling that he really just loves talking about football and wants to share what he learned in the league with those watching from home.
He's also not afraid to take the piss a bit, as can be seen from his hilarious analysis of a cute kitten that ran onto the field last week:
Romo has been a breath of fresh air.
He would have started that job knowing that people disliked him for his playing career, but he has done such a good job that even those who couldn't stand the sight of him are now hoping that he is covering the game they are watching.
Tony Romo dropping betting references on national broadcasts is the icing on the cake. He's a gem of a color analyst.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 27, 2017
When are they going to release Tony Romo's commentator jersey?
— 3-3 (@AmericasTeam_21) October 27, 2017
Tony Romo is the only reason to watch the NFL this year. Literally.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) October 27, 2017
It's like Tony Romo has been doing this for 20 years. He's the best in the business. And he's only been in the business for 2 months.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 27, 2017
Tony Romo is so unique/strange/unusual as a color man. It puts a flood of fellow analysts on total blast. He is the chosen one. Awaken.
— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) October 20, 2017
Tony Romo’s insight on that two-minute drill was incredible. Got to experience how a QB processes all that craziness as it happens.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) October 20, 2017
Tony Romo is the best color commentator since John Madden. He's entertaining, honest and smart as hell.
— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) October 27, 2017
Has this ever happened before?
We are always interested when a new pundit or commentator is given a chance, but we can't recall a time when a footballer or rugby player was so universally loved at such an early stage of their new career.
While the likes of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have become well respected having been despised by most who were not fans of the clubs they played for, they took a while to get going compared to Romo who has waltzed into the world of US sports broadcasting and shaken things up.