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How Should Tony Romo Be Remembered?


The early rumors on Tony Romo’s eventual landing spot are all over the place right now. Some see him sliding into John Lynch’s spot as Fox’ number two analyst. Others are saying he’s going to bump Phil Simms out of the top job at CBS, which would be confirmation that we have an all-loving and all-powerful God. I’m not up on the inner workings of Barstool management to know whether McAfee is onto something here. But as long as Romo doesn’t work my side of the street, fawning over Bill Belichick, grading sex-crazed teachers and writing about nerd culture, he’s welcome at this address. Basically anyone with broadcast rights to NFL games is fighting over him right now, which is the perfect place for him to be.

There’s a lot of ways to look at this. The first being the shabby way Cowboys’ management treated him at the end. Their starting quarterback for nine years. The guy who broke a lot of team records. Someone who, if you believe the rumors, was actually killed by the Panthers in the 2015 Thanksgiving game (3 INTs in the first half, 2 of them pick-6s, knocked out of the game on a sack) and what we’ve seen of him since is just his corpse going through death spasms. And for all that gutting it out, Jerry Jones rewards him by breaking a promise to release him, trying to squeeze potential trade partners virtually guaranteeing they’ll back out, and leaving him basically nailed to one of Ramsay Bolton’s crosses for the crows. There had to have been at least a half dozen teams willing to take a flyer on a 36-year-old quarterback with a resume. But Romo will never know because Jerry Jones is a lizardy old dickbag.

Then of course there’s the “legacy” question that always has to be addressed when a quarterback gets his AARP card. And without a doubt, Romo goes into that vast, populous category of Really Good but Not Greats Who Couldn’t Get it Done in the Postseason. Fair or unfair, quarterback is a “moments” position. To be considered great, you have to put up the great highlights. Joe Namath is the worst player in the Hall of Fame. He’s there for one big moment. Ben Roethlisberger will be considered one of the greats of his time because he put up numbers, but also because he led a game winning drive in the Super Bowl. Romo had his clutch moments to be sure. His 4th passer rating is the highest in NFL history. [Brief pause while that sinks in.] He owns a Cowboys’ record with 28 4th quarter comebacks. But he was 2-4 in the playoffs, with some of the worst performances of our times. Like that dog’s breakfast against Minnesota in 2009, when he had 3 fumbles, 2 INTs and took 6 sacks in a 34-3 loss. When your most memorable postseason moment is this:

… you don’t qualify for Near Great status.

That said, I always kind of liked Romo. And will always try to remember him as the UDFA from Eastern Illinois who won Drew Bledsoe’s job away from him, survived a decade playing one of the most scrutinized, thankless jobs in all of sports, and turned himself into a world class swordsman. Because let’s not overlook the fact he was balls deep in Jessica Simpson during the height of her powers. I’m referring to Daisy Duke-era Jessica, not Weight Watchers ads Jessica:

Those obligatory TV cutaways to her sitting in the stands in a Romo jersey were must-watch television. And when she started to lose her looks, Romo did what the greats do. He dumped her and eventually ended up with Miss Missouri, Candace Crawford. Not bad for a guy who played his college ball in front of 7,000 people in a high school stadium. That’s how I’ll always remember Tony Romo. Unless he takes Phil Simms’ job. Then he’ll be a true American hero.