I'm not sure we've ever had a news post about only one topic, but if not, today's going to be it, because the retirement of Tony Romo was really the only Dallas Cowboys' news of the day. He's had quite a career for an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois, even if it came up short of bringing another championship home to Dallas.
An interesting take.
There was a time, beginning in 1999 with Kurt Warner and continuing with Tom Brady in the early 2000s, that incredible NFL quarterbacks came out of nowhere. It was awesome and crazy. Warner came off the bench to produce one of the greatest seasons ever for a quarterback, punctuated by a Super Bowl win. Two years later, Brady gave us a glimpse of what was to come when he drove the Patriots down the field with 90 seconds left in the Super Bowl and upset Warner's Rams. Two years after that, undrafted Jake Delhomme of the Panthers almost beat Brady's Patriots in the Super Bowl. And during that time, Marc Bulger, like Brady a sixth-rounder from 2000, stole Warner's job in St. Louis and looked for a few seasons like the best pure passer in the NFL.
Great quarterbacks seemed to be buried in the depth chart of every team. And so when Romo finally took over for Bledsoe in 2006, he laid claim to a bizarre status: He was an undrafted quarterback who was somehow burdened with huge expectations.
Would he be the next Warner or Brady?
Turns out, he was the last. …
But let's face it: Romo's story is dented only because Warner and Brady turned out to be future Hall of Famers. Their story was so insane that it unfairly has made Romo's less so.
It is no small feat to have produced the third-least-likely outstanding career for a quarterback in the past 20 years. Debating Romo became a contact sport in the media, even after we realized that the Warners, the Bradys -- hell, even the Romos -- aren't plural. They don't happen every year.
To say that Romo was polarizing is an understatement, even among Cowboys' fans.
He leaves a complicated legacy with the Cowboys. That’s because former quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, each of whom is in the Hall of Fame, combined to win five Super Bowls and established the standard for any quarterback wearing a blue star on a silver helmet.
For all of Romo’s gaudy statistics -- 34,183 yards passing, 248 touchdowns and virtually every significant franchise passing record -- he won just two playoff games in a decade as a starter.
No gray exists for Romo. He’s viewed strictly in black and white.
Some of Tony's impressive career stats.
Romo joined the Cowboys in 2003 and threw his first pass for the team during the 2006 season. Since then, he has become the franchise's career leader in passing yards (34,183) and touchdown passes (248).
His 248 passing touchdowns are the ninth-most in NFL history among quarterbacks who played their entire career with one team.
Romo ranks third in quarterback wins in Cowboys history with 78, trailing Troy Aikman (94) and Roger Staubach (85).
Romo has a career passer rating of 97.1, which is the fourth-best in NFL history (minimum 1,000 pass attempts), trailing only Aaron Rodgers (104.1), Russell Wilson (99.6) and Tom Brady (97.2).
Romo was signed an undrafted free agent. He ranks fourth in passing yards, third in touchdown passes and fourth in starts among undrafted players since 1970, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
Though Romo had an impressive regular-season career, his 248 passing touchdowns and 34,183 passing yards rank second and fourth, respectively, among players never to play in a conference championship game, according to Elias.
Here's a succinct reason why the Cowboys made Romo a June 1 cut. At the end of the day, all the money rolls over anyway, so if the Cowboys don't use the extra space this year, it will roll over into next to take care of the carryover dead cap hit.
By using that designation, the Cowboys will not have to restructure the contracts of a Dez Bryant or Tyrone Crawford, which will add to their future salary-cap figures. While Romo will count $8.9 million against the cap in 2018, it would be better cap sense to not add stress to the deals they have on Bryant and Crawford.
Our own OCC delves into the cap ramifications in detail here.
Anyway you want to slice it, the Cowboys save $54.million over the next three years.
This article answers why Dallas didn't force Romo to "retire" and instead cut him. It was worth up to $5 million to Romo. That's a powerful additional incentive for Romo not to unretire and play for another team.
But Romo said on a CBS conference call today that the Cowboys were doing him a different kind of favor by cutting him: Romo said the reason he asked the Cowboys to cut him was so that he wouldn’t be obligated to pay back a portion of his signing bonus. If he had retired, the Cowboys could have forced him to pay back $5 million in previously paid bonus money. Romo says Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was doing him a kindness with the roster transaction.
"I’ve never had a better boss or mentor than Jerry Jones," Romo said.
So, if Romo somehow did come back, it would only be as a Cowboy.
Could you imagine that? Dak gets hurt, Romo gets his number called, and the iconic quarterback gets a shot to write one final piece to his legacy, which could end up hoisting a Lombardi Trophy over his head. Now, that would be something.
I'm sure no one wants to see Dak Prescott hurt for this scenario to unfold.
Speaking of Dak, here's what he posted.
Some aren't buying the retirement talk, using Brett Favre as an example.
One AFC general manager told Bleacher Report before Romo's Tuesday afternoon teleconference, "I'd say there's a 100 percent chance he makes a return somewhere in the NFL next season."
That report said: "Several front office executives literally laughed at the notion that Romo is retired, all but guaranteeing that he would be back."
The problem with that line of reasoning is that Bret Favre was an ironman, so health was never an issue for him.
This is the more realistic view, the acknowledgement from Tony himself.
"There's no part of me that wants to play,'' Romo said in a CBS conference call. "I know what it takes for me to play and I would literally have to be making that decision right now. And I'm not making that decision right now.'''
By moving into broadcasting, and supplanting Phil Simms on the lead CBS team, Tony will have his hands full getting up to speed in his new profession.
"When you think about the NFL, two of the most iconic brands are the Dallas Cowboys and CBS Sports," Romo said in a Tuesday news release from CBS. "Going from one legendary team to another as I begin the next phase of my career is a dream come true. I have always known that once my playing career was over I wanted to become a broadcaster. I am ecstatic for the opportunity to work with Jim as I learn the craft and convey to fans my passion for this great game."
Plus, when you think that he hasn't really played in two years, he has had plenty of time to contemplate this kind of scenario.
There was likely still a window for him to keep playing, but a team like the Texans needed to step up, and they blew it. How would you like to be a Texan's fan today? Tom Savage?? There's someone to get excited about - NOT.
They behaved as if they were fine with going into the season with what they have and didn’t really need to go after Romo.
That is a questionable approach, at best.
Taylor does a nice job recounting some of the highlights, and lowlights, of Tony Romo's career.
3. A Crazy Play
The moment: With 56 seconds left in the first half of a 2007 game against the St. Louis Rams, center Andre Gurode snapped the ball over Romo’s head. Romo finally scooped it up the Dallas 17 -- 33 yards from the line of scrimmage -- and ran 37 yards to the St. Louis 46 to get a first down.
Why it mattered: That play, four games into the season, epitomized Romo’s athleticism and ability to make big plays out of chaos.
It’s a trait he demonstrated countless times during his decade as a starter with the Cowboys. So many times, he looked like he was about to get sacked and he’d escape and throw a touchdown pass.
Those are the same traits that led to Romo making game-changing mistakes.
This is just scratching the surface of the articles published yesterday on Tony Romo's retirement.