Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo retired from football after an outstanding 14-year career. So what will his legacy be?
When Tony Romo announced he was retiring from football to join CBS as a sports broadcaster, social media went ballistic with good-byes, farewells, and outright criticisms.
With all of the sentiments came the ultimate arguments from Cowboys fans: Is Romo one of the best Cowboys ever? Is Romo a Hall Famer? Does he belong in the Cowboys Ring of Honor? If he’s so good, why did he only win two playoff games?
By now, you all have heard the arguments ad nauseam about Mr. Romo. With Tony, you either loved him as the Cowboys quarterback, or you didn’t. There is no in gray area with Romo, who was one of the best players to ever wear the star.
The legacy of Tony Romo will be an interesting topic for years to come because of so many factors. So at the end of the day, what is Tony Romo’s legacy as a Dallas Cowboy?
Undrafted Rookie out of Eastern Illinois
When former Cowboys assistant coach Sean Payton recommended Romo to former Dallas’ head coach Bill Parcells, it was one of the best free agent signings in franchise history.
At the time, however, Romo was just another rookie quarterback trying to make an NFL roster.
In 2003, as a rookie free agent quarterback, Romo was buried deep on the depth chart behind starting quarterback Quincy Carter, former pro baseball player Chad Hutchinson (who had just signed a lucrative contract, and third-stringer Clint Stoerner.
Romo has a career passing rating of 97.1, 25 fourth quarter comeback victories since 2006 (the most in that span), and a passer rating of 102.9 in the final quarter.
With four quarterbacks on the team, someone was going to get cut, and most expected it to be Romo. He went 9 of 17 passes for 134 yards for one touchdown and one interception in a preseason game. Stoerner was cut, and it was the beginning of something special for Romo this historic franchise.
Tony’s preparation met opportunity in a Monday Night game against the New York Giants, when Parcells pulled the slumping Bledsoe in favor of Romo.
Although the Cowboys lost 36-22, Tony completed 14 of 25 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Despite average numbers, Cowboys fans walked away impressed with Tony’s athletic ability, creativity, and gunslinging arm. The Cowboys had found something — a talent that could play quarterback.
After taking the reigns of the starting quarterback position, Romo led the Cowboys on a 6-4 record and a birth in the 2006 playoffs. The crushing defeat to the Seattle Seahawks would serve as a backdrop to Romo’s career as Cowboys quarterback.
The Legacy of Cowboys Quarterbacks
After going through several mediocre and pathetic quarterbacks, finally Dallas had found its franchise signal caller. The storied franchise had finally replaced three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Troy Aikman, even if it took them half a decade to find him.
When you’re the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, you’re the most watched and scrutinized athlete on the planet! Period! No need to argue!
As the face of America’s team, the quarterback is expected to win Super Bowls. If a Super Bowl isn’t won, the quarterback didn’t get the job done and must take responsibility.
These lofty standards were set by Cowboys Nation and the media. Trust me, the media loves themselves a Cowboys quarterback or quarterback drama (Dak Prescott and Romo).
The quarterback of the Cowboys is supposed to win Super Bowls, like Hall of Famers Roger Staubauch and Aikman. Anything less than a Lombardi Trophy is a major disappointment.
Romo didn’t win a Super Bowl, didn’t participate in one, and never came close to playing in one. Which sadly enough he’ll be remembered for. Posting a 2-4 postseason record, Romo never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
As the quarterback for Dallas, and the high standards set upon them, this is beyond unacceptable to Cowboys Nation. Romo was supposed to at least make it to the NFC championship game. Danny White did it three years in a row, and he was not as good as Tony.
This is where Romo’s legacy will be debated more than else. And depending on which Cowboys fan you talk to or which NFL expert you consult, Romo was either the best quarterback in franchise history, or the biggest choker.
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Romo is the franchise leader for passing yards (34,183), touchdown passes (248), and was a four-time Pro Bowler.
As gaudy as those records are, critics will point out his losing playoff record, his mishandling of the ball in the Seahawks playoff game, three straight 8-8 seasons, and those untimely interceptions in critical moments.
To counter that argument, Romo has a career passing rating of 97.1 (behind Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers), 25 fourth quarter comeback victories since 2006 (the most in that span), and a passer rating of 102.9 in the final quarter.
Also, Romo had a 78-49 record as Dallas quarterback. That’s a decent record.
Critics and supporters of Romo will always use stats to support their argument. Romo will share the brunt of the blame, but the majority of the blame belongs to owner and general manager Jerry Jones, plain and simple. Old Jerry waited until late to surround Romo with comparable talent.
As soon Jones started to surround Romo with talent, he became injury prone. He only played in a handful of games for the last two seasons. Then Romo lost his starting job to a rookie quarterback. One who was supposed to sit the bench for a few seasons, similar to Romo as an undrafted rookie QB.
Just like the uncertainty of Romo making the Cowboys roster as a rookie, the same thing can be said about his legacy.
Will Romo be in the Cowboys Ring of Honor”?
Will Romo make the Hall of Fame?
Let the arguments continue about Romo’s legacy.