August 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during warm ups as Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett watches before playing against Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo: The 5th Quarter Man

Tony Romo must win a Super Bowl to be considered a success. This (and only this) will solidify his status. There is no other option.


In order for Romo to put the demons to death, he must use the bling on the ring to shine them away. Like Ghostbusters style.

This NFL game is very special. History does not lie. Neither does tradition. A quarterback can win in gallons of Gatorade, but if they don’t accumulate the one win that counts then the Gatorade is just sugared water.

Take Jim Kelly of The Buffalo Bills for example. History doesn’t remember him as the quarterback who won four straight AFC Championships games. This stat alone is remarkable. Kelly is the guy who lost four. It’s the teams that won those four that are remembered (90′ Giants, 91′ Redskins, 92′ Cowboys, 93′ Cowboys).

Time forgets the loser. It’s the way it is. There’s first place, and then the others sharing one pool.

Tom Brady is aware of this. Though he has three rings, my inclination is that when his career is over, Tom will never be able to release the “one” in the 18-1 (2007) season.

It’s difficult to move away from the, “What could have been moments.” Since Jimmy Johnson left, to this day, it’s what Michael Irvin brings up. Troy Aikman too. Players and fans both let this eat away.

You can arguably add Tony Romo to this list already.

Tony has been in prime positions to win it. Fans were there. They knew it. And when it didn’t happen, Romo turned from undrafted savior to villain of the decade.

Some fans hate him. Some fans love him. There are those who argue in his favor, and others against. Stats, accolades, skills and tendencies will be used in the court of law.

August 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick (70) scans the defense before snapping the ball to quarterback Tony Romo (9) against Arizona Cardinals during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There’s also the name calling. Overrated. Choke artist. Overpaid.

We can argue for or against the quarterback, but the answer is in this question: How will history remember Tony Romo?

If Romo does not win one, he’ll be remembered as the guy that gave Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells permission to retire. History will recall the fumble in Seattle. And all of his interceptions heard around the world. Romo will carry the choke artist label — indefinitely. He’ll be the quarterback who faded when it mattered.

And fans will have to live with this.

If Romo does win one, he’ll be a Bill Parcells kind of guy. History will illuminate his brilliant numbers. Canton, Ohio will probably open its doors to him. Dallas will put Romo’s name next to Aikman and Staubach.

And haters will have to live with this.

Winning one changes everything; it’s what matters on a résumé.

September 8th signals the beginning of the end for Tony Romo. From here on to the end, we will witness Romo in his prime on downwards. There’s no coming back.

This is the 5th quarter in the life of a quarterback. Become a Jim Kelly or a Roger Staubach. Win or lose.

Either way, history awaits. It will either be really kind, or really harsh.

My Quick Shots:

• Happen to clock Lance Dunbar? Wow. Who knew he had some jets? Ah, yeah, we’ll need that speed this season. Get well Dunbar.

• Miles Austin dead bolts a defender. Got miles in the tank?

• The upside of a terrible six turnover game? This happened in preseason. And it was Orton — not Romo — that tossed two interceptions.

This cannot happen live. It’s ironic when I think about those turnovers that happened after a big gain; it sums up what the Cowboys need to change the most: Stop shooting your own foot.


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  • Artie C

    Great article Michael. Spot on in everything you said. Romo already is compared to Danny White, who took Dallas to 3 straight NFC Championship games. Quite an accomplishment, yet the comparison is not meant to be a compliment. These next couple years, Romo is definitely in ‘overtime’ . All of us are rooting for him.

    • Michael Vu

      Exactly Artie. We are definitely rooting for him!

  • ctcowboy1968

    Spot on. For a QB in the NFL, you either win a SB or you are just another dude.

  • JoeDaBeast

    Michael, I would have agreed with you, from beginning to end, if you did not bring up Jim Kelly. Even though I do agree with you that the teams that beat him in the “final game” are remembered more than him (with the exception of Thurman Thomas’ “Missing Helmet” in Super Bowl XXVI). Jim Kelly could not win the big game, but will always be remembered as a great quarterback who used all of his weapons well. THAT is what Tony Romo needs to do, use your multitude of weapons to put your team in position to win. Once he does that, he will be remembered positively, whether or not one liked him or not.

  • Barry Soetoro

    If only Peyton had gone to Dallas.

    • John

      We’d still be talking about how he can’t win the big one…

  • Rich inTX

    Michael, you have to live with the fact that you are a horrible, douchebag writer. You are part of the problem that is Tony Romo. You and your cronie friends who write articles about every sneeze he makes and plaster it on front page like he’s a god. I am a Tony Romo fan and supporter, and I wish you idiots would actually watch him play rather than just watch what he does off the field.
    Oh, and by your standards (in this article), I guess Dan Marino was ‘just another guy’ and doesn’t belong in the hall of fame.