A few weeks ago, the question was asked, “Who was the best Cowboy of all time?” This particular question sparked a lot of debate.
Here is my answer to that very question.
It was on May 1, 2003 when the undrafted free agent from Eastern Illinois inked his name to his first contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
To this point in his life, Tony Romo was an electrifying player at the college level. While it is true that Eastern Illinois is not one of the huge recruiting schools for football, Sean Payton knew this school’s program well, for he was the college’s quarterback after his high school years. Payton’s position with the Cowboys under Bill Parcells allowed Sean to recruit Tony Romo. Romo was a raw talent. It was good for Tony to have Sean on his side because Parcells was not entirely sold on Romo’s potential to be the starter for the Dallas Cowboys.
Romo spent three seasons as a project quarterback. During those three seasons it was evident he was growing with each passing year.
Tony Romo attended little Burlington High School in southern Wisconsin. Romo shined as an athlete there. He was considered one of the state’s finest basketball players and one of its promising young golfers.
After high school, Romo went onto Eastern Illinois University. While at Eastern Illinois, Romo majored in communications. Tony’s college accolades were many:
- Capped an outstanding career at Eastern Illinois University by being named the 2002 recipient of the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the nation’s top player in Division I-AA.
- Became the first player from the Ohio Valley Conference to ever win the prestigious Payton Award.
- Finished his career as the school and conference all-time leader with 85 touchdown passes.
- Was second in school history and third in conference history with 8,212 passing yards.
- Was also second in school history with 584 completions and 941 attempts.
- As a senior, set school and conference records with 258 completions (407 attempts).
- His 3,615 passing yards as a senior were the second-most in a season in conference history and third-most in school history.
- Had 34 touchdowns passes in his final collegiate campaign.
- As a junior, led Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 138-of-207 passes for 2,068 yards and 21 touchdowns.
- Earned All-America and All-Ohio Valley Conference honors and was named the OVC Player of the Year after his junior year.
- As a sophomore, ranked second in Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 164-of-278 passes for 2,583 yards and 27 touchdowns.
- Named All-America honorable mention, All-OVC, and the OVC Player of the Year following his sophomore year.
Romo watched the game from the sidelines for three years. He studied that clipboard. He studied defenses. His preparation and his athletic ability began to separate him from the rest of the Cowboy quarterbacks.
On October 23, 2006 Romo replaced an aging Drew Bledsoe in the third quarter in a contest against the New York Giants. When Tony Romo finally got his chance to start, he took the reins and he has never handed them back.
Romo has become known around the NFL for his ability to evade would be pass rushers, his quick release and his strong, accurate arm. It is true he will never have a game in which he will rush for a hundred yards, like some of the younger hi-bred quarterbacks, but he doesn’t have to. Romo’s awareness of the field, his vision and his arm allow him to lead this Cowboys team unlike any other quarterback has ever done.
Romo’s toughness should never be in question. He has taken a pounding during his tenure in Dallas, while leading his team to numerous fourth quarter comebacks. To date, Romo has been sacked an astounding 231 times. This number seems high, but it would be a lot higher if Romo didn’t possess his athletic talents. Romo has suffered a broken pinkie finger on his throwing hand, a broken left Clavicle, fractured ribs and has survived three back issues along with countless other bumps and bruises. Each time this Cowboy has hit the dirt, he gets back up like a hero in a Hollywood Western. He dusts his self-off and gets back on the horse, the Cowboy way.
Romo no only leads this team on the field he is also a prominent figure in the community.
- 2003 Dallas Cowboys Rookie Club.
- Special movie screening of ‘Radio,’ hosted by the Cowboys for 400 youths from non-profit agencies.
- Cowboys/United Way Hometown Huddle to play Bingo with senior citizens at The Brady Center.
- FUTURES Golf Classic along with members of the local media, other Dallas-area professional athletes, and FUTURES tour players for the Boys and Girls Club of Collin County, HomeAid, City House, and Hope’s Door.
- April 2007, joined teammates, Roy Williams, Terence Newman and DeMarcus Ware to attend The Salvation Army National Advisory Organizations Conference.
- Stars of Texas…Racing Against the Odds for American Diabetes Association.
- Dallas All Sports Association’s Hall of Fame Luncheon.
- 2008 Poker for Pets for SPCA of Texas.
- 2008 Cowboys Youth Football Camp Guest Speaker.
- 2008 Special Guest with his father Ramiro Romo at The Baylor Health Care System Foundation EveryMan Dinner benefiting prostate cancer research, technology and community outreach.
- 2007 The Terrell Owens Catch A Dream Foundation, “December to Remember” holiday fundraiser.
- 2007 & 2008 Attended Jason Witten’s Youth Football Camp in Elizabethton, Tenn.
- 2009 Chopsticks for Cowboys benefitting the Rich Behm Family Trust.
- 2011 Super Bowl XLV served as a celebrity coach alongside teammate Jason Witten at the NFL Experience Tazon Latino Celebrity Flag Football Game.
- 2012 Dallas Cowboys U High School Camp Head Coach.
- Annual team Holiday Hospital Visits.
- Salvation Army Angel Tree Christmas Program.
- Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon and Cowboys Family Cookbook benefitting Happy Hill Farm.
- Make-A-Wish Foundation – Several ONE-ON-ONE visits with children each season.
Tony Romo is not only a hero on the field for the Dallas Cowboys; he is a hero off the field. He burdens the criticisms when Dallas loses; however, he never loses that Cowboy grin.
After the last game in London, Romo extended his NFL record of 37 straight away games with at least one touchdown. The London game also extended his personal streak to 37 straight games with at least one touchdown.
Tony Romo has become one tough hombre. Like him or not, the numbers for Romo do not lie. The Dallas Cowboys are not as a complete of a team without their leader.
Sean Payton’s belief in the young Romo, along with Romo’s work ethic, helped this small town boy become a man among men in the NFL.
Whitebear560.com – Sports-Kings/Down and Distance contributor Whitebear560 – Whitebear560 Facebook – @Whitebear560 Twitter