Romo’s Lasting Legacy Indicative Of A Career’s Worth Of Front-Office Complications
Indifferent to emotion and the many ties that bind us together, the sand in the hourglass has at last run low. The remaining years have turned into weeks. If the rumbles from the rumor-mill mean anything, the weeks have recently turned into days, possibly even hours.
Yes, the clock is ticking – and ticking loudly – on Tony Romo’s remaining time in Dallas. About all that is left to be decided are the type of walking papers he will receive. A quick boot down the stairwell, or will it be through customs via a trade? Or will he depart at all?
These are the particulars that have added a bit of intrigue to what seems an unavoidable fate.
To be sure, there are few things more complicated these days than goodbyes. Especially when the displaced is beloved like a family member. What with Daddy’s gruffness, Mama’s flowing fountain of tears, and the incessant chatter of the onlooking throng, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and quantify the value of the preceding years.
So, in anticipation of Romo being handed one form or another of a pink slip in the very near future, and certainly before eyes are deemed red and a sentimental disturbance is recorded in the streets of Dallas, it would be as well to settle in our hearts a fair judgment of Tony’s career in Cowboy blue.
As you would expect with the franchise’s all-time passing leader, Romo’s positive attributes were of an exemplary quality and well worth remembering. At the line of scrimmage, Romo made out as a surgeon general, a pre-snap magician who could diagnose a defense’s intentions better than any Dallas signal-caller who came before him. And though he has never been accused of being fleet of foot, Romo’s nimble feet in a broken pocket made him a one-of-a-kind escape artist.
Package it all together with a strong, accurate right arm, and it’s no wonder that Romo’s pocketbook has seen a noticeable uptick from where it once was. A career that began in the innocent obscurity of a rookie free-agent signing will conclude 14 years later with all the glory of a veteran payoff. As of today, Romo is a millionaire one-hundred times over, making his career a rags-to-riches story that would be celebrated wholeheartedly everywhere if he were anything but the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.
The expectations attached to his longtime position have never been of a mortal nature. Not, at least, since the days when Roger Staubach first gave fans in Dallas a taste of immortality. It is because of Roger and the legendary Troy Aikman after him that Romo departs with his armor shining from statistical resourcefulness, yet rusty from the absence of ultimate conquest.
Roger and Troy lifted the championship trophy a combined five times. Tony and tiffany, however, never met.
That Romo should never have even accomplished as much as Danny White did will be eternally revered as a direct reflection of the front-office figure who not only wrote Romo’s checks, but his fortune as well. To say that winning with Jerry Jones has been a challenge is slightly under-cooking your statement. Since Jimmy Johnson and crew disappeared over the horizon of time, circumstance, and free agency some two decades ago, Jerry has rendered everything in his path a pile of overhyped ash. He made Dave Campo look the part of a fool, and clearly mishandled the roster that Bill Parcells left him upon retirement, putting Romo, the newly-crowned franchise quarterback, in a brutally tough spot.
The window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl is often the size of a window to an open receiver in the NFL. Incredibly small. As all fans expect the quarterback to make the perfect throw every time, so do they expect him to take advantage of his career opportunities. But when Romo wiled away his first couple of years as a starter with a handful of playoff disappointments, it was an unacknowledged reality that Romo’s best chance to capture a crown for the Cowboys had slipped away.
It might be a bit callous to suggest that Jerry is to blame for Romo’s bungled snap in a playoff game in Seattle. But let’s not pretend that Jerry’s hands are clean from what went down a year later at home against Eli’s Big Blue Crew, when the Cowboys became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the Divisional round.
Who can forget seeing his ink-stained fingers on national television just minutes after presenting his team with newly-printed tickets to the following weekend’s Conference title game? After what went down against the G-men, it’s safe to say those tickets were a forgery, a byproduct of Jerry’s deformed intellect.
Calling his shot in the dark was Jerry’s way of imitating Jimmy, his lifelong closet hero. But instead Jerry shot his own team in the back, and dished up some extra motivation for the visitors that resulted in a monumental playoff upset.
As a collective unit, the Cowboys have never been the same as they were then. Their defense certainly slipped in performance after 2007, leaving Romo in the unenviable position of having to carry the franchise on his back. With a makeshift supporting cast, Romo kept the Cowboys above water, leading them to three consecutive 8-8 seasons from 2011-13. A year later, behind a rebuilt offensive line, Romo led a resurgent group to a 12-4 finish and a division title. But in the Divisional round at Lambeau, another season of hopes and dreams were vanquished in the aftermath of the catch that was, but wasn’t.
In an odd twist of fate, it is perhaps fitting that Romo’s career in meaningful games should have concluded with that controversial call against Green Bay. No play more perfectly captures the agony and the frustration that has followed the franchise during Romo’s tenure.
So often with Romo at quarterback, there was the sense that the Dallas Cowboys were just one play, one catch, or one gentle nudge from the football gods away from taking that next step upwards. How it happened that their necks were rung time and again by the iron grip of heartbreak will always serve as a reminder of the era from which these memories were born.
Tony Romo should never be held to the same level of accountability for failing to reach a Super Bowl as Danny White, nor should he be labeled a helpless, luckless victim of postseason circumstance like Don Meredith. Such are the rewards of having to endure a career-long dual struggle, one against the competition and the other against a wiling, conniving owner whose inclinations are ever bent toward defeat.