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The Misrepresentation Heard Around The NFL: Will Tony Romo Ever Be The Same?

In recent days, Dallas Cowboys fans have been reading headlines and tweets that imply Tony Romo believes he will never be the same kind of player he was in the past. Sleep soundly Cowboys Nation, knowing that is not what Romo actually said.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the past couple of days, I kept hearing that the NFL ran teasers about ‘Tony Romo will never be the same' and articles at emphasizing this idea that Romo will simply never be the same kind of player he used to be after having back surgery. It was the misrepresentation heard around the NFL. Articles and tweets soon followed and the headlines read like a bad game of telephone were the final message was a mischaracterization of Romo feeling like he will never be his old self again on the football field.


To the best of my ability, I tracked down the NFL article that instigated this travesty of "news" headlines. It seems it all began with an article at entitled "Tony Romo knows he'll never be back to normal."

One of those shock-titles to generate clicks, it is misleading because in the context of football, this idea makes readers think that Romo is admitting he will never be as good a football player as he used to be because of his back surgery. In reality, this is far from what Romo said in the press conference that generated this misconception.

Romo was asked if he's back to feeling like his old self.

"Well, you're never going to," he said. "After back surgery, it's like after any surgery. I think you're always going to have to work hard at that. Not everyone knows, but once you have a back surgery, you kinda have to change the way you do things. You have to constantly work on your glutes, your hamstrings, your abs and strengthen everything around that area.

"That doesn't mean you can't do the things that it takes to be successful on the field or whatever you want to do. There's just been plenty of people that have done it, so you just gotta go do it. It just takes work."

"I'm 100 percent, it's just -- you have to always work at something, if that makes sense."

Of course, Tony saying he is 100% and can do anything it takes to be successful on the field isn't going to grab the same kind of national attention as trying to claim Romo thinks he ‘will never be the same.' An honest answer about having to work harder to remain 100% launched dozens of stories and tweets about Romo never being the same after his surgery. Of course, you could still find a few places that were still trying to be more transparent in their news updates. Todd Archer at ESPN Dallas actually led with the headline "Tony Romo believes he can play the same way."

"You guys will never see anything really different," Romo said. "If anything, it's just like, 'You'll play. You'll play. You'll play and then you'll be done playing at 39.' This won't affect, 'Oh, I've slowed down.' You just won't play if you got to that point. You wouldn't be able to." 

Romo has said on more than a few occasions he is 100 percent and if he struggled with his movement, then "that means it's not healed. You couldn't be able to play," he said. 

"I'll be the same. I'll be able to go."

Here, the article doesn't try to misrepresent Romo's words from the press conference; instead, it tries to help provide some clarity to the situation. Tony Romo may never be back to his old self because he will have to continue to rehab and prepare differently to strengthen his core and help support his surgically repaired back, but it doesn't mean he can't play just like he used to before the surgery. In fact, there is enough reason to believe he could play better than last season because the pain management has been relieved (or drastically improved) due to the operation.  After all, going back to the article that started it all:

Romo said earlier this month that he is "miles ahead" of where he was last year coming off his first back surgery.

Troy Aikman may claim his back surgery is the reason he retired, but he also played nearly a decade of football after that surgery. It's like Romo said, "He'll be the same," but ultimately, it may be his back that forces his retirement if he doesn't work as hard to maintain it as he explained in his press conference. When discussing this coming season and all the questions surrounding Romo and his back surgery, most seem to forget some simple truths. During an interview for the NFLN back in June:

"I'll be able to play for a while," the 34-year-old Dallas Cowboys quarterback recently said during an NFL Network interview that will air Friday at 7. "There are way too many cases where you see people come back; Troy Aikman had it - they won a Super Bowl the same season. Joe Montana comes back and wins two Super Bowls. They had the same surgery."

Of course, don't expect this line of thinking to be on the forefront of the Tony Romo headlines leading into the 2014 season, because they simply won't grab the same kind of attention as those that make it seem like Romo will never be the same. In fact, one recent NFL article using a 'Boom or Bust game to separate fact from fiction' (HAHAHA, you'll get the joke in a second) claimed this exact reason for why the Cowboys "might be the worst team in the NFC."

Jerry Jones declared Romo healthy, but the 34-year-old quarterback is coming off his second back surgery in less than a year. And even Romo himself acknowledged that he'll never be completely back to normal. So, sadly, my conclusion here is bust.

This is unfortunate, as he's the only reason for hope in Big D. The Cowboys just might be the worst team in the NFC.Brandon Weeden is one injury away from playing. That's a problem, as Weeden has trouble with the forward pass.

Notice how it was Jerry Jones that declared Romo healthy, and not Romo himself that declared he's 100% and "I'll be the same, I'll be able to go." Because if these facts were added, then the statement of Romo acknowledging he'll never be completely back to normal doesn't provide the same kind of catastrophic implications. If used properly, the link makes it seem like Romo was actually quoted saying something like this, and also implies he will never be back to normal playing capabilities. And it leads to the misconception heard around the NFL.

In any case, I won't put much stock in someone misrepresenting Romo when they also think that the Cowboys may be the worst team in the NFC because their backup quarterback is "one injury away from playing." After all, every team is one injury away from starting their backup QB and many of them are actually worse than Brandon Weeden, so the idea is laughable, if not absurd. But this is all worth mentioning so that at least BTB readers can understand what Tony Romo was actually saying when he answered a question. It is worth some clarification of what Romo was acknowledging when they read "he will never be the same."

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