I have been rooting for Tony Romo since he was a backup quarterback to Drew Bledsoe. Years ago while in Dallas on business, I was listening to a local sports radio show in my rental car as the radio hosts were mocking Dallas fans who wanted Bill Parcells to give him a chance to start. These obnoxious hosts laughed at the unsophisticated fans who read too much into Romo’s solid preseason numbers against 2nd stringers. I specifically remember one of the hosts say in a frustrated tone “Look, Tony Romo is a backup quarterback”, as if he were exasperated at Cowboys fans for thinking that this undrafted backup could ever become a anything more than a backup.
As I was listening to this I couldn’t help but wish that this backup quarterback would get a chance to start someday and prove these blowhards wrong. It just so happened that a month or so later Bill Parcells finally gave Romo a chance to start and he put together a great season, leading the Cowboys to the playoffs. I am not a fan of the Cowboys, but I was aching for them to win the Super Bowl that year if only to put those snide radio hosts in their place. In their first playoff game, Romo drove the Cowboys deep in Seahawks territory to set up a chip shot field goal for the victory. Unfortunately, the kicker never got a chance to make the kick as Romo, who had continued in his role of holder after taking the starting quarterback role, mishandled the snap and got tackled after trying to improvise a run into the end zone.
Tony Romo’s one in a million miscue only made me root for him more. I grew up a diehard fan of the Quebec Nordiques, so I have always had a predilection for cursed teams and athletes. As the years rolled on there was a type of Groundhog Day scenario would repeat itself where Romo would play great for a stretch and raise expectations only to see a late season collapse the involved multiple soul crushing interceptions late in a critical divisional game.
Through all this I kept rooting for Tony Romo. Then this year I joined my first survivor pool. My strategy of simply picking whatever team available to me that had the biggest favorable point spread had been paying off for me. This week, according to the Vegas experts, the most lopsided game was the Seahawks at home against the Cowboys. I was tempted to go against my strategy and pick the Ravens against Tampa Bay, but I was a little scared off by Tampa’s performance against the Saints the week before. I, as did the Vegas odds makers, felt that Romo’s tendency to force balls into coverage would likely lead to a number of interceptions against the best secondary. Add to that the fact that Seattle has been nearly unbeatable at home the past couple of years, including home victories over Super Bowl contenders Green Bay and Denver this year, and I felt that this was the safest pick available since I had already used up San Diego and Denver.
After blowing an early lead the Seahawks regained the lead and had the Cowboys facing a third and twenty late in the 4th quarter. After the snap, the Seattle line collapsed the pocket and multiple defenders got a hand on him, put Romo channeled Eli Manning circa 2007 and danced out of trouble and threw a perfect throw down the sideline to Terrence Williams, who made a toe dragging catch that could only have been more amazing if he had pinned the ball to his helmet with Rodney Harrison trying to bat it away. After that Seattle’s will had been broken and Demarco Murray simply walked through them for the game winning touchdown.
I spent 8 years rooting for Tony Romo and got nothing but disappointment, frustration, and false hope. For one night I rooted against him and I lost my $20 pool entrance fee. I lived and breathed the Quebec Nordiques for all my life, and the year the franchise left town and I stopped caring about them they won the Stanley Cup. Tony Romo is dead to me, but he doesn’t care because it probably means he will win a Super Bowl this year.