No Questioning Romo’s Toughness – Or Value
Tony Romo has a history of valor, and deserved a day of discretion. … even though it greatly impacted the Cowboys’ 28-17 loss to Arizona. Romo was on the sidelines on Sunday, nursing two fractured transverse process in his back, watching his Cowboys drop a home game to the Cardinals.
The quarterback’s desire to play here — despite the ever-present pain of essentially having a “broken back’’ and the absolutely-present threat of more damage — should forever end the NFL memes that put Romo in the position of punchline and clear up how badly Dallas needs the healthiest version of him available. “Hopefully we’ll get Romo back this week,” said owner Jerry Jones, reflecting on replacement Brandon Weeden’s putrid day (18 of 33 for 183 yards, a TD and two picks). “If we didn’t think he could play, he wouldn’t be on that long plane ride.”
But on Monday evening Romo will be on the London-bound plane with plans to find a way to oppose the Jaguars next Sunday. He’ll probably be appreciated. However, just in case … a history of Romo’s valor in the face of injury:
*In 2007, the 5-0 Cowboys hosted the 5-0 Patriots in Texas Stadium in a battle of Drew Bledsoe’s backups. The Cowboys couldn’t keep pace with Tom Brady, losing 48-27. Romo suffered a rotator cuff injury early in the game, but played on.
*In 2007, the 5-1 Cowboys hosted the struggling Vikings. On a fumble return, Romo slid during the pursuit to avoid blockers looking to tee off on him. Not only did Romo strain his right hamstring, but he earned a $5,000 fine from the NFL for a so-called attempted “slide” tackle.
*In the first half of Opening Day 2008 in Cleveland, Romo led the Cowboys to a win after Willie McGinest led into the quarterback’s chin on a hit. Romo missed a series, but was back in the action the next series with nothing more than some tape and gauze covering up his gash. After the game, Romo needed 13 stitches to seal the wound. When the two-time Pro Bowl QB was on his way home from the airport in Dallas, he saw an older couple stranded on the side of the road. He stopped and changed their flat tire. When the gentleman saw Romo and his busted chin, he said, “Don’t tell me what happened! I’ve got the game recorded and haven’t watched it yet.”
*In 2008, on the opening play of an OT game, Cardinals end Chike Okeafor blindsided Romo, who fell awkwardly on his throwing hand. This was a meme holiday, for while Romo broke his fifth metacarpal, sensationalist sports media insisted it was “just his pinkie.”
*In 2008, Giants defensive end Renaldo Wynn sacked Romo, who took a knee in the back and left the game. However, Romo returned the next series and Dallas won 20-8, with Romo needing treatment on his back that week.
*As the Eagles were creaming the Dallas Cowboys 44-6 and wresting control of the final wildcard spot in the NFC playoffs in 2008, Romo suffered an injury in the second half of the game where his rib cartilage popped out and then back into place.
*In 2010, Romo’s season ended with a broken collarbone. But after blitzing Giants linebacker Michael Boley slammed into Romo and drove him into the AT&T Stadium turf, Romo, while still floored, asked trainers, “Did he [Miles Austin] catch the pass?”
*In 2011 at Candlestick Park, Romo heaved an OT pass to a streaking Jesse Holley for a 77-yard gain to set up Dan Bailey’s game winning 19-yard field goal. Romo played with broken ribs and a punctured lung.
*In 2011, Romo’s hand was swollen to twice its normal size – a “bruised hand” as the Cowboys medical staff called it. The signal-caller was noticeable injured, but chose to play given the playoff implications. The Cowboys would lose 31-14, though Romo went 29-of-37 for 289, two touchdowns, one interception, and a 106.0 passer rating.
*In 2012, in yet another NFC East title game on the East Coast, Romo threw three costly interceptions that sealed Dallas’ fate at 8-8 and missing the playoffs. A story that gets overshadowed about that game is that Romo played through cracked ribs starting in the second quarter of the contest.
*In 2013, Giants defensive end Matthias Kiwanuka speared Romo on the right side. He played with a back injury and led the Cowboys to a 36-31 victory over New York.
*In 2013, playing with a herniated disc, Romo engineered a signature win at Washington, and Dallas lived to fight for the NFC East title. Romo’s 144.4 is the best passer rating anyone has ever accomplished with a herniated disc.
There are decisions to make going forward, about Tony Romo’s availability for next week’s game against the Jaguars in London, about the risks involved and about Brandon Weeden and others’ ability to carry a no-Romo load.
But there is no question about one thing: “No. 9 is as tough as they come, at any position,” teammate Jason Witten said. “Nobody in this locker room questions that. Nobody who knows football questions that.”