The other day, someone asked me a simple, yet profound question.
“Why the hell do you support Tony Romo so much?”
To borrow a page from the book that is Terrell Owens’ career, Tony Romo is my f*cking quarterback. The entire week, I’ve done my best to avoid conversation about Sunday’s divisional championship game versus the New York Giants. Mark Cuban not talking won the Mavericks a title last spring and I’m turning over a new leaf in 2012 where invoking a vow of silence over the teams I support will be mandated. It probably won’t last past January 10, but it’s not like most resolutions make it past that day anyway.
Being a Cowboys fan, I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’re assholes. We think we’re better than everyone and we’ll throw the “five rings” argument in at the drop of a dime. That being said, the 2000’s haven’t exactly been kind to “America’s Team.” Tony Romo gets my support mainly because I suffered through the B.T. (Before Tony) era. I remember the Quincy Carter days. I remember the Anthony Wright Days. I remember the Clint Stoerner days. I remember the Vinny Testaverde days. Hell, I remember the Chad Hutchinson days. And when Ryan Leaf is one of the more memorable quarterbacks of the decade for your franchise – with an 0-3 record to boot – you’re almost better off saying Kwame Brown revolutionized the way your NBA franchise operated in the post.
There’s a certain fabric to Tony’s game, which at times, is still an acquired taste. He’s a risk taker, sort of in the Brett Favre mold of things. He’s won games like that and lost his share as well. The unpredictability factor that goes along with every snap from Romo is as negative as it is positive, depending who’s asked. What makes this backlash even more frustrating to deal with is hearing Dallas fans call for Romo’s head. The basis of the argument – because “he loses us games” – is the most asinine in sports. Have I questioned Tony’s future with the club? Of course I have, but that’s part of the territory not just with Tony’s style of play, but the nature of the position as a whole. Unless your favorite team has one of these five quarterbacks, there’s been at least one “is this guy the answer?” moment-of-truths to run through your mind over the years. And one is putting it lightly.
— Drew Brees – He’s damn near perfect. Washington fans, with all the money Dan Snyder throws at players who don’t deserve it (i.e. Albert Haynesworth and an over-the-hill Deion Sanders), this is the guy you throw the bank at. Offer unlimited three piece wings with mambo sauce. Offer a room in the White House. Do whatever you need to do to make Brees at least consider leaving New Orleans. Not that he will, but at least give us something to think about in the offseason.
— Tom Brady – This guy’s damn near perfect too and if his defense can ever work with him, there’s a chance he could end his career with four, possibly five, rings. Keyword: chance.
— Peyton Manning – Ol’ rubber neck still has some years left in him. It wouldn’t surprise me if he returned in 2012 with one of the greatest “so-you-thought-I-fell-off-huh?” seasons ever.
— Aaron Rodgers – Discount Double Check.
— Ben Roethlisberger – His decision making history off the field notwithstanding, Big Ben will go down as one of the greatest “big game” quarterbacks to ever play the game.
That brings us to the next crop of quarterbacks. Phillip Rivers is basically Tony Romo-West. Michael Vick is a once in a lifetime-type athlete and great signal caller when he desires (and when healthy), but I’m still taking Romo in a must-win situation. Eli Manning is a respectable debate. The list goes on, but aside from the five mentioned, Romo is a Super Bowl ring away from being considered “elite.” And that’s the truth. Past transgressions exactly that, in the past, Sunday marks a moment in my Cowboys lifetime where I can see the magnitude of the situation for what it really is.
The season’s on the line. A stellar game ensures Romo surpasses the 4,000 yards plateau as well as the 30 touchdown passes mark. A last minute thriller would give him five fourth quarter comebacks in a year that could easily see Dallas sitting at 12-4 instead of 8-7. A loss 48 hours from now, however, means an offseason filled with questions throughout the organization. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t somewhat apprehensive heading into the game. My hatred for the Giants is only surpassed by the respect I have for them. A better script couldn’t have been written though. Two division rivals with an invite to the playoffs on the line the last week of the season. Romo banged up. Legacies hanging in the balance. All that jazz the media helps build up. I just pray it doesn’t end like the last game of the season against Philly in 2008.
Sunday night is the biggest moment in Tony Romo’s career and my life as a Cowboys faithful. At least until next week. God, please let there be a next week.