The Dallas Cowboys had an offensive explosion on Sunday against the high-powered Denver Broncos offense. Despite losing the game 51-48, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had a career day throwing for over 500 yards. It just another Cowboys record Romo can hang on his wall. Despite his personal success, it was his lone mistake in the game that most fans will ultimately remember. And unfortunately, ill-timed mistakes are a disturbing trend during Romo’s roller-coaster career.
Editor’s note: After this article was published, one of our faithful readers named Thomas pointed out that Romo is not totally at fault for this perceived mistake. He directed me to a wonderful article written by Joey Ikes over at BTB that clearly illustrates he made the right read and the right decision to throw the ball. It was an ill-fated misstep on tackle Tyron Smith’s back heel that was the real culprit for the interception. Check it out if you have a chance. You can chalk this one down to bad luck. As you’ll read in the rest of this article, regardless of the excuses, bad luck seems to be a running theme in Romo’s career.
Some of you may construe from the title of this article that I am a Romo-hater. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, I’m convinced now more than ever that he is the right man to lead Dallas back to the promised land a.k.a. the Super Bowl. But there is no denying Romo does have the label of “choke artist” attached to him and his play. It’s been there since he botched the hold on the field goal attempt in the 2006-07 NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The label’s usage among fans intensified the very next year when the Cowboys lost their divisional playoff game against the New York Giants. With less than thirty seconds left, and on fourth down, Romo threw an interception in the endzone eliminating Dallas from the playoffs. His three fumble and one interception playoff performance against the Minnesota Vikings in the 2009-10 playoffs didn’t help the negative talk either.
For the past two seasons, the Cowboys have gone 8-8 and missed the post-season each year. Both times, losing the final game of the season to a divisional rival that determined their playoff fate. Last year’s final game against the Washington Redskins was another three interception performance by Romo. The “choke’ label remains.
For every success, Romo has monumental failures that overshadow him. But he is also a man you want to root for. He says the right things, and by all accounts, does the right things in order to succeed. Romo seems to only miss one thing: the clutch gene. Can that be learned? Who knows? But what I do know is one Super Bowl trophy can erase all his mistakes in one stroke. Just like another legendary quarterback I remember…