City Sports Report

Tony Romo Is Revising His Legacy

Tony Romo is rising from the past failures. (www.usatoday.com)

Tony Romo has been the butt of a lot of jokes over his career over his inability to finish or come through for his teams when they needed him the most. Over the years, he has fumbled or thrown the team into a defeat or singlehandedly been blamed for the demise of the Cowboys from game to game. To say he has been beat up in social media and media like is an understatement. Fair or unfair, he has received his share of heavy criticism. Heading into this year, more of the same was expected from the veteran quarterback out of Eastern Illinois. But along with a good season by the Cowboys this year, the expectations arose and so did the play of Romo. And after the season he had and his moments against the Lions in the Wild Card game, Romo is slowly erasing the memories some have of him being a failure in the big time. A couple different things have taken place that have helped Romo have the best season of his career.

During the entire regular season, Dallas made the fundamental change to switch from a pass-happy offense to a more balanced attack that used the running game more frequently. The first game of the season did not look so good for them, as they fell behind quickly to the San Francisco 49ers and were not able to implement their plan as much as possible. But after that game, it seemed as if the plan began to take shape. The Cowboys would feed DeMarco Murray the football and then use the passing game off of it. And Romo thrived with the change in philosophy. The veteran quarterback had his best quarterback rating of his career (113.2) due to the offense being better fit for what Tony can do. When the Cowboys changed the philosophy, it saved Romo from feeling that he had to do everything himself. Over the years, the Cowboys would place Romo in situations that would be putting too much on him as the quarterback of the team. And as a result, he would have inexplicable turnovers and throws that would make you scratch your head. Now that those have been erased mostly in Dallas, the team is given a better chance to win and be productive on the field. And Romo is now in a better place to be successful as a quarterback.

Romo has always been a gunslinger. And sometimes that would get him in serious trouble on the field, as evidence by the interceptions and turnovers. But this season, he seemed to make a change along with the offense changing. Over his career, he would force some passes. Whether the Dallas Cowboys wanted to recognize it, the interceptions had gotten out of control for Romo. Before this season, he had thrown double-digit interceptions in three straight years. But this season, with better decision-making and being on the same page as his receivers even more, Romo went back to single digits with interceptions along with throwing for his second-highest touchdown total in his career (34). That can be attributed to Romo now taking what defenses have given him. Before, he would not always do that and trust his arm to drill passes into tight spots. This season, you saw less and less gunslinger and more and more smart decisions by Romo. And because of that and the running game, the Cowboys were able to win the NFC East and establish a steady playing style and also a dependable style.

But must of all, the biggest change in Romo is the acceptance of big moments. In the past, Romo would falter in big moments. The pressure of the moment seemed to make him crumble. But this year, it just seemed that something was different about him. When the team needed him to make it happen, he would make the play happen for his team. Against the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card game this past Sunday, Romo showed his growth as a player. Facing a fourth and six with about six minutes to go in the game, Romo and the Cowboys were running out of time. Down 20-17, the Cowboys were at the Detroit 42 yard-line and they only had two timeouts left. It was now or never for Dallas and Romo. In previous seasons, he would have probably made a horrible decision that lead to the Detroit Lions winning the game. But Romo was able to hang in the pocket and find his longtime friend and tight end Jason Witten for 21 yards and a first down. Romo would go on to lead the Cowboys to what would be the game-winning touchdown with a little over two minutes left in the game. This is only a snapshot of what he has done in pressure situations this season, but it is indicative of him finally making that big play in clutch situations.

The Romo jokes will still be there unfortunately. But one thing is for sure: as he keeps performing, the jokes will die down. He may have done things in the past that everyone clowned him about, but he is now moving forward in knocking down the negative persona that has been attached to his name for so long.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. Jason

    January 5, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I always thought he was a great qb that for some reason like you said would seem to crumble in big moments. That running game was the best thing to ever happen to Tony’s career in my humble opinion. The defense isn’t great but holds when it matters in most cases. …G.B will be tough….I think if it becomes a shoot out its in A.Rods favor but if both team’s stick to the run game it will be a great game Romo is great in shoot out situations but A.Rod in my opinion is a little better.
    #goodstuff

  2. Derrick Branch

    January 7, 2015 at 1:56 am

    This goes to show you how important a solid running game is to even the best quarterbacks in the NFL to have long term success in the postseason and beyond. Romo owes Murray a big thank you this season.

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