Yeah, usually we start with an overall recap of the previous night in sports (that’s still coming later), but sometimes, exceptions must be made. Thanks to Tony Romo, this is such a time. Romo and the Cowboys had a lot on the line last night – the NFL scheduling gods pitted them against the division-rival Redskins in a regular season finale that doubled as a one-game playoff for the NFC East title. It was win or go home for both squads.
And near the end, the Cowboys had a chance. A touchdown and successful two-point conversion had them within three with just over three minutes remaining, and they had the ball. This wasn’t only a chance for the Cowboys to get to the playoffs – it was a chance for Tony Romo to change his reputation. Romo, despite being better than he’s generally given credit for (check the career numbers here; they’re really quite good), has a reputation as a choker. With a big game-winning drive last night, he at least could put a serious dent in that image. And then… this happened.
I’m far from a Cowboys fan, and when Romo threw that pass, even I was yelling at the TV screen. Not enraged, beside-myself, full-throttle, neighbor-scaring screams, though: these were more of an exasperated, “Come on, man, why the hell did you do that?!” variety. Because why the hell did Romo do that??? You just saw the play; do you have any answers for me? Didn’t think so.
And no, this play didn’t end the game, but the touchdown the Redskins scored following this baffling decision (thanks in no small part to their terrific field position) effectively did. Essentially shooting a fadeaway jump shot into the waiting arms of a defensive player at the worst possible moment in the biggest game of the year – that’s how a poor reputation is cemented forever. Based on his entire body of work, it’s tempting to say Romo deserves better. The way he played with his team’s season on the line, though (and he wasn’t very good in general last night – the above play was one of three interceptions), pretty much washes that temptation away – this time, perhaps, for the rest of his career.