Mac Engel

NBC’s Al Michaels on Cowboys-turned-broadcasters: “Those guys are just good.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with Al Michaels of NBC Sports prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Special to the Star-Telegram/Ray Carlin)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with Al Michaels of NBC Sports prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Special to the Star-Telegram/Ray Carlin) Special to S-T/Ray Carlin

Whatever happens to Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and perhaps tight end Geoff Swaim, they too can all be secure in the knowledge that their respective post-playing careers will include a gig on television.

Playing for the Dallas Cowboys for the last 20 years means you do not normally play football games in January, but you do call them.

Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and now DeMarco Murray - all Cowboys in 2014 - are all broadcasters.

They have followed in the footsteps of Troy Aikman, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Michael Irvin, Darren Woodson, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith and a few others who used their time with the Cowboys to launch their post-NFL days into a broadcast booth.

Of course, those guys won the NFL’s biggest games. Often.

Nonetheless, if you are a good Cowboy, you are great for TV.

The crew for NBC’s Sunday night football games conducted a conference call on Wednesday, and Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michelle Tafoya were asked about why so many of these recent ex-Cowboys all made the jump into their respective network’s biggest booth.

Romo immediately stepped into the No. 1 slot with Jim Nantz on CBS, and Witten walked out of football into ESPN’s top slot on its Monday Night NFL telecasts.

“Those guys are good,” Michaels said in reference to the former Cowboys turned broadcasters. “I think Troy has done a great job for a lot of years. There’s no question in the minds of anybody in the business who had a chance to be with Tony Romo when he was a player that this guy was going to be great on the air, and he is. With Jason Witten, he’s another guy, maybe it’s something in the water down there. I don’t know.

“But I think part of it, too, is that the Dallas Cowboys are obviously a team that everybody pays attention to. I think it’s a lot easier when you’re playing for the Dallas Cowboys to get recognized. You’re on national television a ton of times, more so than if you’re playing for Carolina, Jacksonville or whatever. So I think that has a little bit to do with it, but I think those guys are very worthy of where they are.”

Tafoya said, “(Romo is) just that guy. In fact, let me rephrase that. He has surprised me a little bit about how quickly he’s taken to the booth and really owned the position. Troy I never got to interview on the field, but Jason is one of the all-time great people, one of the all-time great players, and I’m excited for him. I’m excited to see him grow and learn.”

Romo has been tremendous with Nantz; it should be noted that CBS worked extensively with Romo before the 2017 season started to make his transition smoother.

ESPN is notorious for throwing ex-players in front of the camera and expects them to swim, and it’s clear that while Witten can do this, he just needs some practice.

What becomes of this current crew of Cowboys from Dak to Zeke won’t be known for several years, but considering the path created from Don Meredith on down to Tony Romo and his crew, expect all of these guys to be on a TV/Phone/tablet shortly after they are done playing.

Being a good Cowboy is key to becoming great for TV.

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