Think back to the 2006 NFL season. More specifically, think back to the Cowboys’ season. Remember who the starting quarterback was? Well, it depends on which part of the season you’re remembering. Drew Bledsoe began the season as the team’s starting QB but was benched at halftime of their Week 7 matchup with the Giants. There was Tony Romo, a great unknown, jogging out of the locker room as the new starting QB of the Dallas Cowboys. His first pass, an ominous harbinger, was an interception on a simple screen pass.
And so began the NFL career of Antonio Ramiro Romo; a career full of death-defying highs and forehead-slapping lows. There’s no denying that the Cowboys franchise is better off with Romo at the helm, as opposed to the likes of Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson and Clint Stoerner. Cowboys fans have finally gotten the franchise QB that we’ve always wanted since Troy Aikman’s career was cut short. But is he really the guy we want? Is he really the guy we need to get us to the Promised Land? It’s simply too early in his career to know for sure. But there are some potential warning signs that must not be ignored.
Tony Romo grew up in Wisconsin, in the very heart of Green Bay Packer nation. He played high school football during a time when one of the most notable players to ever wear a Packer uniform was making his mark on the NFL. That was none other than Brett Favre. Naturally, Romo looked up to Favre and began to model his game after Favre’s. He adopted Favre’s “gunslinger” mentality and rode that all the way to a stellar college career and then to the NFL. Once he began as a starting QB in the NFL, the Favre comparisons were plentiful. And that, to anyone who really paid attention, was cause for concern.
Favre is the very definition of a lightning rod. Depending on who you ask, Favre is either a legendary NFL QB or a risk-taker who continually puts his team in bad positions. Oddly enough, both camps have a legitimate argument. In the 2009 NFC Championship game, Favre surpassed Joe Montana as the league leader in career postseason passing yards. In that same game, however, Favre surpassed Jim Kelly as the league leader in career postseason interceptions. None of this comes as a surprise to anyone as the last two times we’ve seen Favre in the NFC Championship Game, he has put his team in a position to win, only to end their chances by throwing a back-breaking interception.
Unfortunately, that all sounds vaguely familiar. In many ways, Tony Romo has been the answer to Cowboys Nation’s collective prayers. He already holds a substantial amount of franchise passing records, including single-season passing yards, single-season touchdowns and career 300+ yard games. Why is it, then, that we still have an empty feeling? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that all four of Romo’s seasons have ended in a gut-punching fashion. Obviously, it’s not all his fault. But one is still left to wonder if he really is the QB to lead the franchise to the Super Bowl – and actually win it.
Romo’s whole story is still yet to be written. He could very well turn it around and win multiple Super Bowls. It took Peyton Manning a long time to blossom into one of the best QBs the league has ever seen. So there is still time for Romo to take his place among the all-time greats. But his regression in Minnesota to the old, careless Tony Romo ways has to leave you wondering if he truly is the savior of the Dallas Cowboys. Only time will tell. Let’s just all hope he doesn’t fumble his opportunity.