A reader asks Dr. Z about the Cowboys.
Hat tip to 325424.
On Wednesday night Peter King and our respective wives had dinner at the Kings' favorite restaurant in New York, Babbo (Hey, are you paying attention, Babbo? This means free meals for a year, right?). He asked me who my [Cowboys] MVP is right now. I thought for a while and said Tony Romo. The problem, of course, is that he hasn't been doing it for a whole season, but I really think no one has made more of a difference to his club. Until, of course, he hits the wall, which might or might not happen. Cowboy Receivers? So far, strictly big league. T.O. has not imploded yet, although one never knows. Running game? Big plus is the emergence of RT Marc Colombo. I thought they were sunk when they moved him in as a starter, but I guess the whole problem in the past was nagging injuries. Julius Jones? Pretty decent, doesn't thrill me, but what I really like is the depth that Barber provides. I like everything he does. Nose tackle Jason Ferguson keys a competent front line that has decent depth. Linebackers are just OK. Secondary is pretty good, although I don't see LCB Terence Newman playing at the all-pro level he was at last year. Good punting, limited range on Gramatica's kicking.
Overall -- The big question will be, how will Romo stand up against the Chicago defense when they meet in the NFC title game in Chicago?
It's all about Tony these days, as his agents found out.
"The level of interest has been astounding," said R.J. Gonser, one of Romo's three agents at Kansas City-based Creative Artists Agency. "It may not be very sexy, but Tony just wants to concentrate on football."
But Tony is stepping out a little, checking out the red-hot Mavericks.
"The crowd gave me a nice reception," said Romo, who didn't throw a pass in a regular-season game until this season. "I don't care about a position of power. It's just neat that I get to do this for a living."
Doing it well has propelled Romo into the national sports TV spotlight. In addition to serving routinely as a highlight of ESPN's "SportsCenter," he did double duty Sunday as guest on CBS' "NFL Today" pregame program, then appeared via a remote on NBC's halftime show during the Eagles-Colts game. He also drove to the Fort Worth studio of the CBS affiliate to appear on the sportscast hosted by former Cowboys quarterback Babe Laufenberg.
"He could have done three or four others," said Dalrymple, noting that Romo had no game on Sunday because of the Cowboys' traditional Thanksgiving Day game. "Tony is walking the fine line between wanting to be cooperative with the media but not wanting to be a celebrity."
It's all good, but when the Manster and Captain America give their seal of approval, you can bank on it.
"I'm his biggest fan," said Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy White, who played in three Super Bowls during his 14-year Cowboys career. "Out here on the street, the fans are excited. He's giving people hope. He's confident but not cocky."
Praise for Romo appears in all formats. Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach's "Monday Morning CEO" blog saluted Romo, saying, in part: "... Tony's making it look way too easy. Do you realize in the last three weeks, Tony is 28-30 [passing] in the second half of games?"
John Clayton on the Giants turmoil and the Cowboys lack thereof.
It's still hard to believe the Giants will be the more volatile team in Sunday's matchup against the Cowboys. Everyone expected the Cowboys to be a team constantly in chaos because of Terrell Owens. Bill Parcells somehow calmed T.O. by giving him the quarterback he wanted, Tony Romo. Romo's been the story of the second half of the season. Parcells settled his own stomach by cutting inconsistent kicker Mike Vanderjagt.
So much has happened since the first time these teams played. Dallas lost to the Giants, but is 4-1 since then. Meanwhile, Coughlin won the game, but the injuries his team sustained in that game could cause him to lose the season. It's been an amazing turnaround.
Winning cures everything, my friends. Dallas starts winning, and the sidelines are quiet except for laughter.