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Tony Romo’s Signature Games: America, Meet Tony Romo

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Tony Romo’s introduction to the NFL world came during a Thanksgiving Day game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In honor of Tony Romo’s retirement, we’ll take a look back at some of his signature games as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

The Thanksgiving Day 2006 contest at Texas Stadium marked the moment that an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois became an “overnight success” in the eyes of football fans around the country. After two seasons without taking a snap as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo introduced himself on the national stage.

Those of us who bleed blue and silver had already met the strong-armed passer a few weeks earlier, but a national audience would get their chance to take a look at what was generating the hype out of North Texas. A stellar outing, and a 38-10 demolishing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, established Tony as an up and coming passer in the National Football League.

Every aspect of Romo’s game was on display on national TV. His origins might not have been as pedigreed as some starting quarterbacks but it was clear that Tony was the man in control. Under his leadership the team looked and played much differently than they had under Drew Bledsoe, his predecessor. The Cowboys had already become Tony’s team.

The strong right arm that had carried him through his collegiate career served him well on that day. He became the first Cowboys passer to toss five touchdown passes in a regulation game since the days when Danny White had led the Cowboys.

Not only did he bring his cannon to the gridiron, Romo also had that big gun sighted in. He completed 22 of his 29 passes and went over 300 yards passing. In addition to the five scoring strikes, the young quarterback also turned in a performance that earned him a 148.9 quarterback rating. It was a stellar national coming out party for Romo.

After a long drought at the quarterback position that included players like Ryan Leaf and Quincy Carter, the Dallas Cowboys had a true field general for the first time since Troy Aikman retired.

America now knew that Tony Romo was for real. His performance on Thanksgiving Day started drawing comparisons to both Roger Staubach and Aikman. It also set some unrealistic expectations for his future. He was never able to deliver the Super Bowl rings that his predecessors did, but that would not stop the upstart quarterback from writing his name all over the Dallas Cowboys record books.

Quarterbacks will always be evaluated based on the rings they earn, and for that Romo might not ever get the honors that he deserves. Regardless his place in Cowboys lore is assured. Tony was at his best (and worst) on the biggest stages. He set that expectation from his first opportunity.