Throughout his entire NFL career, Tony Romo has faced a ton of scrutiny from those around the league for his ill-timed interceptions and bad play in crucial games. He would show signs of improvement and then revert to his old ways and throw a costly pick that would seal the fate for America’s Team
Romo made his postseason debut in the 2007 playoffs where he infamously mishandled the snap on the potential game-winning field goal from 19 yards out, with his team trailing the Seattle Seahawks 21-20. Romo had to scramble but it wasn’t enough and the Cowboys went home. The next season Romo threw a costly interception in the end zone with under 30 seconds left in the divisional round against the Giants. Dallas lost 21-17. The next season Romo and the Cowboys were eliminated in a winner-take-all game for the NFC East in embarrassing fashion 44-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Romo was nonexistent in the game, throwing for just 183 yards. The Cowboys won the division in 2009 and proceeded to beat Philadelphia in the wild card round, giving Romo his first career playoff victory and the Cowboys their first playoff victory in 13 years. The next week the Minnesota Vikings beat up on Dallas 34-6. Romo had a rough outing, fumbling three times and losing two of those fumbles, throwing an interception and being sacked six times.
Romo was injured in October of 2010, therefore not being able to attempt to lead his team to the playoffs. The next two seasons Romo and the Cowboys lost winner-take-the division games against the Giants and Washington Redskins respectively. Against the Giants, Romo went 29-37 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 31-14 loss. Against Washington, Romo threw three interceptions, including a game-clinching one with 3:33 left after getting the score to 21-18. In week 15 of the following season, Romo led the Cowboys to a comeback victory over the Redskins and threw the go-ahead touchdown with 1:08 left. After the game it he found out he needed back surgery, placing him on season-ending injured reserves.
The past couple of seasons Romo has done his best to silence the critics and help lead the Cowboys to higher heights. Last season he had an MVP-like season, throwing for 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He led the NFL in passer rating with 113.2. He won his second career playoff game when he led the Cowboys to a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round. Romo and company would fall the next week in controversial fashion to the Green Bay Packers. Romo led Dallas to what would have been a go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter. He found wide receiver Dez Bryant for what appeared to be a touchdown reception, but was overturned due to a rule. The referees decided that Bryant did not make a “football move” and retain possession of the ball. The Cowboys would turn the ball over on downs, thus ending their Super Bowl hopes. Romo finished the game 15-19 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. The loss was not on Romo, as was the case in year’s past.
Dallas entered the 2015 season with Super Bowl aspirations, despite losing the NFL rushing leader from a season ago in DeMarco Murray to free agency. The pressure was put on Romo, who accepted it with open arms. In the opening game of the season against the New York Giants, Romo complete his 25th career fourth quarter comeback, which leads all quarterbacks since 2006. Romo was sensational in the fourth quarter, going 13-16 for 159 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He had a passer rating of 121.6 in the fourth, which was 6th best in the opening week of the NFL. He finished the game 36-45 with 356 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. This was with Bryant missing most of the game due to injury, which was a costly one.
Romo will have a lot more added pressure to this season after Bryant had to have foot surgery after breaking a bone and will miss at least the next 8-12 weeks. All eyes will be on the undrafted quarterback out of Eastern Illinois University to see if he can lead this team despite not having his mega-star receiver. If he continues to play the way he has from last season and through the first week of this season, the Cowboys will get by without Bryant and then have a legit may shot once he returns.
The narrative on Tony Romo is changing from being a mistake waiting to happen as Stephen A. Smith would say, to a quarterback who is clutch down the stretch and leads his team to victory week after week.