By Otis Mitchell
Antonio Ramiro “Tony” Romo, one of the most loved by loyal knowledgeable fans, and also one of the most criticized and hated in the entire NFL. Growing up I was always a fan of the guys who took a beating yet always seemed to get back up and make big plays, the underdogs the guys who scout say don’t have what it takes yet they work for it and grind for everything they get. Tony Romo is the definition of what I look for in a player. Not only is he a hard worker and an elite talent despite the ‘he’s soft’ rumors you hear from folks who seem to forget him beating San Fran and later passing out in the shower due to a punctured lung. The man took a beating behind mediocre Dallas Cowboys Offensive lines for years. You would think by the disrespect Tony gets that he was a #1 draft pick and killed dogs and beat women in his off time. No Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent who has always been very devoted to God and spends most his off seasons playing golf and is such a natural athlete that he almost qualified for the United States Open. Prior to being signed by the Cowboys Tony won 2 Ohio Valley Conference Championships, was a 3 time OVC Player of the year, and also won the Walter Payton Award in 2002. In today’s NFL with scouts doing all they can to the diamonds in the rough like Paxton Lynch and others who excel at small schools, Tony would likely have been a 1st Round pick.
Tony is often judged by post season success, which to an extent one could understand, but at the same time would any other QB have gotten these teams to the playoffs at all? I really don’t think so. One play that many people for some insane reason talk about most is the botched hold against Seattle. This was a play that changed NFL rules forever. The ball was clearly juiced up and slick, but like always, Tony came within 1 yard of scoring anyway. For years Tony had no RB to speak of and a very below average offensive line. I remember watching many games thinking please Andre Gurode snap the ball on time and not over Tony’s head, it’s laughable looking back just how terrible these teams were. Despite being so bad, Tony time and time again had his team in contention. Tony has been labeled a choker for games he played in 2006 and most notably 2007. Folks, those were his first 2 years under center. Why do others get a pass for poor play? Tony Romo is labeled a choker yet has the best 4th Quarter passer rating of any active nfl quarterback. The 2007 Playoff game against the Giants Tony played great. The play before the game ending INT, Tony put it right where he needed to but Patrick Crayton stopped his route, which happened often, and led to numerous interceptions that any other QB in the league would get the pass on because the analysts would say his WR ran the wrong route. Not Tony Romo though, it was all on him. That’s how it has been his entire career and much of why he had INTs earlier in his career. He had to try and make something happen. He had no line and no RB. Did you know in 2009 Tony passed for 392 yards, 3 TD’s, and lost? Lol.
Tony has also never had a solid defense and defense folks is what wins championships. Fast forward to 2014 Tony Romo, and he finally has the offensive line he needed and a RB to take some of the pressure off. Tony played as good as any QB in NFL history in 2014 and should’ve been MVP but was robbed by the Dez Catch in the divisional round. Dez caught it. 2015 started out on fire with a come from behind gutsy 2 minute drill game winning TD’s to his best friend, Jason Witten, to beat the Giants in typical clutch Tony Romo fashion. Then the injuries came calling with a cheap shot hit and I refuse to write about the rest of that year.
Get to 2016 and Tony Romo is finally healthy and looking sharp as ever in practice and low and behold an awkward hit from behind and Tony is injured again. A broken back and, by the way, he begged coaches to let him back in the game in the preseason, a game that meant nothing. Why? Because he’s a warrior. Everyone knows how this season went for Tony as he watched as the Legend of Dak Prescott grow with every week and every game. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dak, but he’s no Tony. This team would have been by far the best Tony has ever had and we only got to see that for 1 late season drive and of course the magic happened with an easy TD pass. Now we go into the offseason wondering have we seen the last of the Warrior in a Dallas uniform? I think we have and I think, like many athletes, the fire still burns. My hope is a team that is a contender comes calling and Tony Romo shows the world yet again why you should never count him out. The Packers assistant said it best. “You deserve better Tony Romo.” You deserve better from the owners the coaches and most definitely the fans. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into this team and your body on the line every game. God bless and go get your ring that you deserve.
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