Cowboys: Ending Tony Romo Hate For Good


The Dallas Cowboys win against the Miami Dolphins despite some obvious rust from returning quarterback Tony Romo, hushing the haters from now on.

Despite Tony Romo showing signs of rust, the Dallas Cowboys won rather easily in Miami, which should be enough to forever quiet naysayers across the league.

Somewhat lost amid the Dallas Cowboys‘ recent slide was the utter lack of the once popular narrative that quarterback Tony Romo is a choker. The problem with spouting off such ideas as absolute truths is that it forces the haters to reevaluate their stance during the times when he’s been unable to play.

Granted, that tired meme began to fall to the wayside last season, as Romo mounted his most successful campaign as a pro. We had never seen the Cowboys’ quarterback perform at such a cerebral level. It translated to a 12-4 regular season record, a taut, thrilling playoff win at home against the Detroit Lions, and ultimately came to rest in a frigid, what-could-have-been Sunday in Green Bay against the Packers.

The truth of the matter is that the Cowboys would be a four-to-six-win team without Tony Romo, and that may be generous. Nowhere was this more on display than during the last eight weeks. The Cowboys had gotten off to a promising 1-0 start. Things were going great in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles as well, and a 2-0 start was in the cards.

And while they prevailed on September 20 against the Eagles, the unthinkable came to pass: Romo broke his collarbone and went away for an extended period. The keys to the Ferrari were handed off to backup quarterback Brandon Weeden. And while Weeden wasn’t awful, he certainly wasn’t able to guide the team to a win.

Matt Cassel was then called upon to keep the season out of the ditch. Despite some good play from him, the Cowboys kept finding ways to lose. Week after week, we’d hear that if they’d only done this or that, a different result might have occurred.

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Show me a team playing the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” game, and I’ll show you a loser. Losers are precisely what the Cowboys became when their all-world signal caller got injured in that toilet in Philadelphia.

In retrospect, it was silly to be so optimistic when Romo went down. Sports radio seemed to adhere to the notion that if the Cowboys could 3-4 – or even 2-5 – in Romo’s absence, they’d be in great shape when he returned from injury.

I’ll admit, I drank the Kool-Aid, too. But it was silly to think this organization would be professional enough to grind out a win in his absence, much less two or three. As Romo goes, so go the Cowboys. The picture is now crystal clear.

So for any sideline tantrum Greg Hardy throws, or for any locker room tirade Dez Bryant goes on, it was all media fodder until No.9 returned.

Romo was obviously rusty in his first game back. He threw two interceptions that can be placed directly upon him. Yeah, the first one could have been a miscommunication between he and Dez, but it was still a back foot prayer that didn’t need to be heaved up. He missed badly on a few other throws as well.

Get passed the Panthers on Thursday, and the season plot could begin to thicken dramatically.

Yet, through all that, he tossed two vintage Romo touchdown passes. It also cannot be overemphasized how different the team looks with him at the helm. Despite the bad throws and interceptions, the game never really felt out of hand.

Even when Miami seized momentum late in the first half and early in the second half, the Cowboys’ demeanor didn’t indicate panic or sideline chaos. The defense played very well, and the offense put up enough on their own to win. The final result felt justified despite the uneven play and numerous penalties.

Do any of Sunday’s intermittent heroics mean the Cowboys are on the verge of an unprecedented run to post season glory? Realistically speaking, probably not. Next up is a Thanksgiving Day tilt against the undefeated Carolina Panthers and their fearsome defense. It’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll be itching to put a beating on Romo more severe than the one he sustained versus the Dolphins on Sunday.

But the games still need to be played on the field. Romo has always shown a penchant for lion-hearted inspiration in the face of adversity. While the Panthers are a formidable holiday test, the game is certainly not unwinnable.

And the reason a win on Thursday is within the realm of possibility is the man under center. His wobbly performance on Sunday was still enough to secure the win, and he should get better as the rest of the season progresses. Get passed the Panthers on Thursday, and the season plot could begin to thicken dramatically.

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Romo’s return should silence even his harshest critics moving forward. This is his team until he’s gone. His presence is invaluable to a franchise that is so precariously constructed. His play over the next six weeks will determine whether or not the Cowboys can rise up and contend for the NFC East. The same could never be said of the two quarterbacks who played for him in his stead.