Tony Romo has decided to cut back on his normal offseason involvement in golf tournaments. Questions abound: What does it mean? How will it impact games? Was it his decision? Was he forced into this by the team?
How about: What is the big deal?
I saw his decision to not attend tournaments this year mentioned on Twitter, and at first I didn't think much about it. As quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, with a big new contract, additional responsibilities planned for the offense this year, and a new baby at home, I figure he had enough to occupy his time without trying to qualify for PGA level events. Times change, priorities get adjusted, and maybe he got tired of missing cuts.
This was not a subject worthy of a post, I thought, and I was not going to write anything.
And then I saw the way this non-event has been covered and discussed in the media. That is something I do think warrants making a few remarks. ESPN Dallas has done a report about it, complete with video. The Dallas Morning News chimed in, wondering if this was a good move for the Cowboys. And it turns out the video in that ESPN article is Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith
ranting bloviating discussing the decision. Meanwhile, the Twitterverse is full of comments ranging from the snarky to the supportive.
You know, I understand why Jerry Jones signed Romo to a $108 million contract. It's not about his on field performance. It is about having to put up with this kind of junk just because he is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, America's (Most Scrutinized And Obsessed About) Team.
I never did get why people thought they, or anyone else, should have some say in what Tony Romo does with his spare time. I mean, I know pro football players are expected to completely dedicate every aspect of their lives to the game of football. But the CBA sets some strict limits on how much time they can spend in contact with the team. Not only do the players have a basic right and need for a little time away from the rigors of the game, but they are required to get away from it under the current agreement.
Somehow, the fact that Romo chose to spend some of that time competing in golf tournaments (rather than, say, running around in a speedboat, or rock climbing, or driving offroad vehicles, or some other actually dangerous hobby) means he is not giving it 200% 25 hours a day, 388 days a year!.
And of course, we don't want to see the starting quarterback out there working on a sport that requires tremendous focus, remarkable muscle control, and the ability to perform under pressure. Heaven knows those are abilities we wouldn't want him to have on Sunday afternoons in the fall.
I really don't care about the arguments one way or another. I don't believe that trying to compete against professional golfers is in any way going to hurt an NFL quarterback, but you are welcome to disagree.
What does bug me is that if Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Christian Ponder, Andrew Luck, or any other quarterback, good or bad, in the league did something like this, there would be a puff piece or two, but no one would get concerned. But let Tony Romo go out there and play a few rounds, and hang with Tiger Woods, and the long knives come out.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it. If one of the other quarterbacks were to go out and play in the tournies Romo has, I think their local press would mostly be impressed with the diversity of their skills. Romo, partly because he has not had playoff success, but mostly because of who signs his paychecks, is seen as a traitor to the sanctity of the game! What must other players think when they see him playing golf on the big screens at the casinos and the bars and the strip clubs they happen to visit? What kind of example is he setting?
It really isn't so much that the articles themselves are negative. Actually, there is a lot of defending of Tony in the coverage. It is just that there is so much. And there is all this speculation that this is being driven by Jerry Jones, the Emperor Ming of the NFL. It has been announced that Romo is taking a bigger part in the offensive game planning this year, so this is seen as a result of the demands made on him.
Biggest misconception about Tony Romo's new level of involvement _ that Jerry mandated it. Reality is that Romo insisted upon having it— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) May 7, 2013
Exactly. I heard about the idea to use Tony as an on-field coordinator back in January. And though he may have pushed the idea, there seems to have been a lot of acceptance of it.
I don't care why or how this all came about. The man is entitled to his own life outside the far-ranging demands of his profession. And I know my life changes over time. I didn't blog about the Cowboys two years ago. Now look at me. Things change. That's how life is.
Now, the Dallas quarterback is not going to be devoting all that valuable time to golf, so he can sit around and, well, not play golf in his free time. Yep. He has learned his lesson. Grown up. Making real changes, as all the experts out there seem to think he should. Hope you are all happy he has seen the light.