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Tony Romo is my hero.
I don’t mean that in jest, exaggeration, or sarcasm. I genuinely believe him to be a shining example of what it means to be a competitor, a leader, and a winner. But when I wax philosophical here I often draw ire from people who disagree with me about what those things mean and what they are. I don’t want that here.
I simply want to celebrate the many great memories that Tony shared with us. No matter how you view it or slice it, Antonio Ramiro Romo has been one of the most colorful football players of all time and has shined ever so brightly in his time here.
I regret that I was unable to remember what game or find on you tube the play against Washington where he had to evade his own linemen as well as those of the Redskins. [Edit: The reason I couldn't find it was that it was against the Falcons in 2009]. He afterward told a reporter who asked a "tell us what you were thinking" question that "obviously I thought it would be a good idea to run into my own guy, here" (I may have the quote off as I could not find the interview either). This highlights one of the most memorable things about him: his considerable perspective — never losing sight of the fact that he gets paid to play a game and keeping "fun" an important watchword.
Which gave us moments like these:
And, of course, the infamous foot wedge
But fun as these images are, the Tony Romo that we remember is also one of the great competitors of our time. His determined fight has made him one of the great comeback players of all time, whether coming back from a bad five interception game to lead two scores in the final 20 seconds against Buffalo in 2007.
Or coming back from a crazy snap against the Rams that same year.
Or one of the greatest comebacks in team history when he returned to the field in the 4th quarter down 10 points to the ascendant 13-3 49ers with a broken rib and punctured lung to give us first this throw (in which Miles Austin pre-figures "Romoing").
And then, in overtime, with Austin sidelined, leaving Jesse Holley and Kevin Ogletree as wide receivers, Holley’s shining moment in the sun.
But not all the comebacks were successful. Sometimes the plays were all but made, then over turned on a technicality like a pinky.
Or an inability of the league to recognize two distinct and separate football moves before going to the ground.
Twice in NFL history a quarterback has thrown for a 140+ passer rating and at least 4 TD and lost the game. The first was against the 2011 New York Giants, who eventually won the Super Bowl. Most people remember Miles Austin losing the ball in the lights. Few remember the final 46 seconds in which Romo, with no time outs, led the team into field goal range to attempt to send the game into overtime, culminating with this laser with 0:24 to go.
The other was a miraculous game against Denver where Romo dueled Peyton Manning for a combined 920 yards and 9 TD (with Romo winning both stats, but Dallas losing the game). One of Romo’s many memorable plays from that game was an 80-yd plus bomb to Terrance Williams
But sometimes it all came together, too. Like the day he ripped the New York Giants for another 4 TD, 0 INT performance, this time in a smashing comeback victory.
Or the days he put his name in the Cowboy record books, coincidentally the two best passer rating games of his career. As he broke Troy Aikman’s franchise record for TD aginst the Eagles with this pass
And then broke Akiman’s record for yardage with this play against the Colts (probably my favorite Romo memory because I called the whole thing pre-snap from the stands).
But he will always be most famous for his Romodini — the spin move he has used with such devastating effect on the likes of J.J. Watt
And the Legion of Boom.
His performance in 2015 was not the best (and certainly, statistically speaking, it was ragged) the magic was still there, as he showed in one last huge comeback against the hated Giants, killing them with Jason Witten one last time in the season opener.
He would never play them again in a Cowboys uniform. But, as with so many things, he’s finished much better than people realize, and has every reason to leave here on the shoulders of adoring fans. We may not get the opportunity to bask in glory with him the way we so desperately wanted, but all in all...
... this was not a bad way to end it.
Thanks for everything, Tony.