Brought to you by: Big Shucks
This was not how is was supposed to go for the San Diego-born quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys signed the undrafted free agent Tony Romo in 2003 with little to no expectation as an NFL quarterback.
While sitting behind the likes of Quincy Carter, Chad Htchinson and Drew Henson in his early years, it would have been perfectly acceptable if the Eastern Illinois product spent a short football career as a third-stringer or practice squarder.
Thirteen years later, and that same undrafted free agent leads the Cowboys franchise in passing yards and touchdowns.
Tony Romo announcing his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. He immediately heads to CBS to replace Phil Simms as the lead analyst on their NFL coverage team. This despite the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans showing mutual interest in the soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback.
But Romo’s struggles to stay healthy factored into the difficult decision. He had missed 21 games in a span of two seasons due to various injuries. His most recent one was a fracture in his vertebra that kept him out nine games last season and paved way for the future quarterback of the team, Dak Prescott.
The retirement stirs the question of how Romo will be perceived as an NFL quarterback. Is he going to be remembering for being one of the franchise’s best quarterbacks or a player that could never win the big game?
Both sides would be correct. At times Tony Romo looked like one the games best quarterbacks resulting in his high touchdown marks and NFL best passing rating in fourth quarterbacks. But there is also frustrating moments of dropped field goal snaps, throwing interceptions that result in a loss and, yes, the many injuries.
One thing is for sure, there was nothing like Romo before. Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and Danny White are perceived by almost all as some of the game’s best quarterbacks. Sure there were quarterbacks that completed numerous passes to the other team but they did not end up leading the franchise in completion percentage (among those that qualify). But even with better numbers than the greats before him, Romo is looked at in a different light. Maybe it was the celebrity girlfriends, inefficiency to win the big games or the gunslinger mentality. Whatever the stigma is, it keeps Romo on a separate stage than others.
So as Romo enters another chapter in his unexpected football career, honor him by revisiting the highs, the lows, the amazing and the awful. I will share my favorite moment below that seemed to have them all in one play. And just realize that we may never see anything like him again.