For our final undrafted wonder of the Beyond The Clock series, we pay tribute to one of the greatest players in NFL history to ever go undrafted. My personal favorite Dallas Cowboy, number 9, Tony Romo.
Romo attended the 2003 NFL Combine and although he peaked some scout’s interests, he went undrafted.
13 quarterbacks were drafted in 2003. Four in the first round.
The Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins all called Romo at his home in Burlington, Wisconsin. After weighing his options, Romo decided to accept an offer to walk-on for the Dallas Cowboys.
He was third on the Cowboys’ depth chart entering 2003 training camp. In 2004, he was bumped down to fourth string, behind Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde and Drew Henson. It appeared as if his time as a Cowboy was dwindling and would soon be cut. If Quincy Carter, the first string QB at the time, had not been released for substance abuse, then Romo would likely have been playing for another team, or not playing at all.
Carter’s departure moved Romo from number four to number three on the depth chart. From there, Romo climbed his way up. After three years of watching and learning from the sidelines, Romo eventually took over the first-string quarterback role from Drew Bledsoe during half-time against the New York Giants on October 23, 2006. His game stats in only his second NFL appearance were 14 completions on 25 attempts for 227 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The next game, under the national scrutiny of Sunday Night Football, Romo got his first NFL start against the Carolina Panthers. He threw for 270 yards in an easy 35 – 14 win.
From then on, there was little to no question, Tony Romo was QB1.Tony Romo is the first quarterback in NFL History to have over 200 touchdowns while under 100 interceptions. He also took the second fewest games in NFL History to get to 30,000 career yards. To date, in the History of the NFL, he has the third highest quarterback rating and the highest QBR in 4th quarters and overtime. In Dallas Cowboy history, he has the most game winning drives, the most fourth quarter comebacks, the most passing yards and the most touchdowns.
Romo is more than just a great quarterback, he is an inspiration to anyone who finds themselves face to face with adversity. Tony Romo is an affirmation that anything is possible, no matter how bleak the circumstances. Watch Romo on Sunday and you can see this in the literal sense.
Like the game against the Rams when the ball was snapped over his head and he picked it up and ran for the first down.
Another example would be in 2012 when he evaded the Eagle’s front and still completed the pass for a first down.
My favorite was when he dropped the ball, picked it up and threw the game winner to Jason Witten against the Giants in Week 1.
Tony Romo has the ability to make magic happen in the most unlikely situations. It’s that kind of quality that embodies what it means to be a Cowboy.
Cowboys, the real kind, with horses, ten gallon hats and boots, have always been larger than life Americans. Cowboys are free from the constraints of modern life and whatever obstacles they face, they face it head on. Nothing can stop cowboys from getting where they’re going because they live in a world with no fences, where skies are endless and the horizon is not a limit, but a destination to adventure. They start from nothing but are self made and the best of what we hope we are and want to be. They are inspirations. They’re cowboys.
Going undrafted didn’t stop Romo from being the face of America’s Team. A broken rib and a punctured lung is not in his way of throwing a game winning pass. If Romo can complete a pass when the pocket collapses, if he can make a play after the ball is snapped over his head, if he can still throw the game winner to Jason Witten after dropping the ball, then I can get through whatever chaotic situation I’m faced with. And so can you.
If Tony Romo can teach us anything, if the Beyond The Clock series can teach us anything, it’s that nothing is as it seems. Sure, the situation may look bleak but in the end, it will be okay. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
More so, just because a prospect isn’t drafted, doesn’t mean they can’t go on to represent the most valuable and storied franchise in the NFL. Any undrafted rookie free agents the Cowboys sign after the draft could be the next Don Meredith, Don Perkins, Cliff Harris, Drew Pearson, Everson Walls, Nate Newton, Dan Bailey, Cole Beasley or even Tony Romo.
Tony Romo is more than an undrafted wonder – he is an undrafted inspiration, one of the greatest Dallas Cowboys to ever wear the star.