#9 Tony Romo
Antonio Ramiro “Tony” Romo was born on April 21, 1980 in San Diego, California. He played collegiately at Eastern Illinois. Tony Romo is currently the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2003.
Tony Romo attended Burlington High School in Burlington, Wisconsin. While attending Burlington High School, Romo played golf, tennis, basketball, and football.
He was one of the best golfers and basketball players in the entire state of Wisconsin, but it was on the football field where he made a name for himself.
Tony Romo started as the quarterback for the Burlington Demons beginning his junior season in 1996. The Demons didn’t enjoy much success and in fact only finished 3-6 in 1997, Romo’s senior season.
Despite not winning many games, Romo earned several honors, including the All-Racine County and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State first team honors.
Tony Romo continued his football career at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. The Eastern Illinois Panthers are a NCAA division 1-AA football program.
Romo didn’t start for the Panthers until his sophomore season in 2000. He finished the year ranked second in Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 164 of 278 passes for 2,583 yards and 27 touchdowns. He was named All-America honorable mention, All-OVC, and OVC Player of the Year following his sophomore campaign.
As a junior in 2001, Romo led Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 138 of 207 passes for 2,068 yards and 21 touchdowns. He earned All-America and All-Ohio Valley Conference honors and was named the OVC Player of the Year for the second season in a row.
In 2002, as a senior, Tony Romo set school and conference records with 258 completions on 407 attempts. His 3,615 passing yards were the second-most in a season in conference history and third-most in school history. He also threw 34 touchdowns in his final year at Eastern Illinois.
Romo’s senior year performance made him the recipient of the 2002 Walter Payton Award, which is given to the nation’s top player in Division I-AA. He was the first player from the Ohio Valley Conference to ever win this prestigious award.
Romo finished his career at Eastern Illinois as the school and conference all-time leader with 85 touchdown passes. He was second in school history and third in conference history with 8,212 passing yards. He was also second in school history with 584 completions and 941 attempts.
On October 17, 2009, during homecoming weekend, Eastern Illinois University retired Tony Romo’s #17 jersey and inducted him into the EIU’s Hall of Fame. Romo is the first Eastern Illinois player to have his number retired.
2003 NFL Draft
Tony Romo attended the 2003 NFL Scouting Combine, but participated mostly as an extra arm to throw to the wide receivers. Although some of the scouts were intrigued by him, he went undrafted in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Sean Payton, a fellow Eastern Illinois alum, assured Romo throughout the draft of the Cowboys’ interest in him, and signed him shortly after the draft ended as an undrafted free agent. It is rumored that Romo turned down more guaranteed money from Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos.
Tony Romo officially signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent on May 1, 2003.
He spent the entire season as the third string quarterback and was one of four rookie free agents to make the full-time roster following training camp. The only action he saw was in preseason where he completed 9 of 17 passes for 134 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
In 2004, Romo was in a training camp battle with Drew Henson for the backup quarterback position. He completed 24 of 39 passes in preseason for 250 yards. He also threw for one touchdown and two interceptions. Early in the 2004 season, Romo took over the holder duties for PATs and field goals. It was really the only game action that he saw his second year in the NFL.
In 2005, Tony Romo beat out Drew Henson for the backup quarterback spot. He completed 23 of 37 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown in the preseason. He played all 16 games as the holder for PATs and field goals.
Tony Romo started the 2006 season as the backup to Drew Bledsoe. He finally saw his first regular-season action against the Houston Texanson October 15. His first pass in the NFL was a 33 yard completion to wide receiver Sam Hurd. His only other pass against the Texans was a 2-yard touchdown pass — his first in the NFL — to WR Terrell Owens.
One week after his first NFL action, he took over for Drew Bledsoe in the second half against the New York Giants. In two quarters against the Giants, Tony Romo completed 14 of 25 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. A few days later, head coach Bill Parcells announced that Tony Romo would be the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys the remainder of the season.
Romo started 10 games in 2006. He completed 220 of 337 passes for 2,903 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also threw 13 interceptions. He played in the 2007 Pro Bowl as an alternate for an injured Drew Brees.
Romo’s 2007 season started off with a bang. Against the New York Giants, he threw for 345 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also added one on the ground, which was his first rushing touchdown in the NFL. While his success continued throughout the season, his most memorable game of the year was probably against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.
He threw five interceptions, two of which were returned for a touchdown, and lost a fumble. He became the second person in the history of Monday Night Football to throw five interceptions in a winning effort.
The Dallas Cowboys made it to the divisional round of the playoffs but were eliminated by the New York Giants, who won the game 17-21. Tony Romo was unable to lead the team to a come- from-behind victory. He threw an interception in the end zone to Giants cornerback RW McQuarters, thus sealing the game for the Giants.
He finished the 2007 season throwing for 4,211 passing yards (third in the NFL) and 36 touchdowns (second only to Tom Brady). He also finished fifth in the NFL with a 97.4 passer rating behind only Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, David Garrard, and Peyton Manning. Tony Romo also was voted into Pro Bowl for the second time in his career.
On October 29, 2007, Romo and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $67.5 million contract extension.
In 2008, his second full season as a starter for the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo finished eighth in the NFL in passer rating (91.4), sixth in touchdowns (26), 12th in yards (3,448), 15th in completions (276), and 16th in completion percentage (61.3) and attempts (450). He only started 13 games after breaking his finger on his throwing hand in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Romo took every snap at quarterback for the first time in his NFL career in 2009, his third full season with the Dallas Cowboys. He finished the season eighth in the NFL in passer rating (97.6), third in yards (4483), fifth in attempts (550), seventh in completions (347), 10th in touchdown passes (26), and 12th in completion percentage (63.1). He was also named to the Pro Bowl for a third time.
In the Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he threw for 244 yards with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 104.9, leading the Cowboys to victory.
The Dallas Cowboys unfortunately lost to the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional Playoff round. It was a tough outing for the entire team, but Romo was only able to complete 22 of 35 passes for 198 yards and one interception. He was under duress the entire game and was sacked a postseason career-high six times.
In 2010, Tony Romo fractured his left collarbone against the New York Giants on October 25 and was eventually placed on injured reserve on December 22. Prior to his injury he threw for 1,605 yards, completing 148 of 213 of his passes. He had 11 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a passer rating of 94.9 (sixth in the NFL) at the time.
In 2011, Romo threw for 4,184 yards, which was his third 4,000 yard passing season. He completed 346 of 522 passes and 31 touchdowns. His 66.28 completion percentage was the best of his career and second in franchise history. He also had a quarterback rating of 102.5, which was fourth in the NFL behind the National League MVP Aaron Rodgers, Offensive Player of the Year Drew Brees, and AFC Champion Tom Brady. For the season, Romo contributed 82% of the team’s total touchdowns in 2011, which was most in the NFL.
Romo completed 425 of 648 passes for 4,903 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2012. He also tied his career-high in interceptions with 19. The Tony Romo-led Dallas Cowboys finished 8-8 for the second season in a row and missed the playoffs once again.
The Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo agreed upon a six-year extension worth $108 million, with $55 million guaranteed and a $25 million signing bonus in 2013.
During the off-season, Romo underwent back surgery to remove a cyst, which caused him to miss all of mini-camp and organized team activities. That was the first of Romo’s back problems for the season. In Week 15, against the Washington Redskins, he left the game with an injury later diagnosed as a herniated disc. He would once again undergo back surgery on December 27, 2013 and was placed on injured reserve.
For the season, Romo threw for 3,828 yards and completed 342 of 535 passes. He had 31 touchdown passes to just 10 interceptions and finished the season with a 96.7 passer rating.
Tony Romo had arguably the best season of his entire NFL career in 2014. He completed 304 of 435 passes for 3,705 yards. He also threw 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Romo had the best completion percentage of his career (69.9) and his best passer rating (113.2).
The Romo-led Dallas Cowboys finished the year 12-4 and went undefeated in the regular season on the road. He was once again elected to the Pro Bowl.
In the wild-card round of the playoffs, Romo led the Cowboys to a 24-20 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, they ended up getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Green Bay Packers over a controversial call more commonly known as “The Dez Catch.”
The 2015 season was not kind to Tony Romo or the Dallas Cowboys. In Week 2, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Romo broke his left collarbone in the third quarter after Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks sacked and fell on Romo. He would miss the next eight games while he recovered, but returned to the starting lineup in Week 11.
During that time span, the Dallas Cowboys failed to win a game with Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel handling the quarterback duties. Romo’s snapped a seven-game losing streak by the Cowboys with a win against the Miami Dolphins, 24-14.
Romo would again be injured in the next game against the Carolina Panthers, when Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis sacked Romo, which resulted in the second break of his left collarbone that year. He remained on the active roster until December 21 when the Cowboys finally placed him on injured reserve.
Tony Romo has failed to take a single snap in the regular season in 2016 because of a compressed fracture to the L1 vertebrae in his back suffered during the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. The recovery time from such an injury is usually 6-10 weeks.
On March 31, 2013, the Dallas Cowboys signed quarterback Tony Romo to a six-year $108 million contract extension and he was given a signing bonus of $25 million. On April 1, 2015 Romo restructured his contract and converted $16 million of his salary to a signing bonus. This created $12.8 million in cap space for the Cowboys.
- In 2016 his base salary is $8,500,000 and his cap hit is $20,835,000
- In 2017 his base salary is $14 million in his cap hit is $24,700,000
- In 2018 his base salary is $19,500,000 and his cap hit is $25,200,000
- In 2019 his base salary is $20,500,000 and his cap hit is $23,700,000
The total value of Romo’s contract is $108 million, $40 million of that is fully guaranteed. He makes an average of $18 million per season and is the 19th highest of 93 NFL quarterback contracts.
Tony Romo Won’t Be the Next Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator
The pipe dream has been going on since former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback-turned CBS Analyst Tony Romo hung up his cleats for the black blazer. Fans from all corners of Cowboys Nation have clamored for a return to the field or at worst the sideline as the Cowboys offensive coordinator.
Let me stop you right there. It's not happening.
First of all. He's never been a coach at any level of football, so to assume that he could leave the broadcast booth and step into coaching an NFL offense and doing so at a high level is a huge leap of faith in number 9. Sure, Jon Gruden left the Monday Night Football booth for his lucrative deal with the Oakland Raiders, but he had won a Super Bowl and had been an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL for years before joining the broadcasting ranks.
Tony Romo has an excellent understanding of football. He displays it on a regular basis during the CBS broadcasts. But doing from the broadcast view, seeing what the defense is trying to do, and calling the plays to counter what the defense is trying to do are very different things.
Secondly, the coaching job would be a major time commitment that at the moment he doesn't have. Even if he's working a 40 hour work week in preparation for his three-hour time slot, the demands on NFL coaches are easily twice that with many coaches putting in 100 hour work weeks in preparation for Sundays. Tony Romo has a family that even he's talked about as part of the reason that he went into broadcasting instead of looking to hop on with another NFL team.
Finally, the job would mean a significant pay cut from what Romo is already making. It's estimated that the former Cowboys quarterback is making anywhere from $5-10 million dollars a year with CBS. Jason Garrett is making $6 million per year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, so even if the Jones family was willing to pay first-time NFL coach Tony Romo a ton of money to come out of the broadcast booth, there's zero chance they pay him what he's making as a broadcaster. To do so, would be to undercut the head coach. Jason Garrett is Jerry Jones' guy. The owner and general manager wants Garrett to be the guy that leads the Cowboys to Super Bowl success, so there's zero chance he'd pay a coordinator close to Garrett's money, which would lead to constant speculation about the head coach and his future with the organization.
I love Tony Romo. His jersey is one of only two Cowboys jerseys that I own -- along with Darren Woodson -- and I think he could make a good coach one day, but I'd be hard pressed to see him come out of the coaching booth to take a coordinator job and have immediate success. The guys that are offensive coordinators in the NFL have been grinding for years to earn their jobs. Most started as position coaches -- see Sean McVay as Redskins TE coach. The Dallas Cowboys will spend the next few days, and perhaps weeks, identifying their replacement for Scott Linehan, but let's put to bed the dream of Romo as offensive coordinator.
It's just not going to happen.
Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick
The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.
Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:
Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh
Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.
Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.
The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.
For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!
Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.
Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.
Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.
The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.
Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.
Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.
In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.
This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.
Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan
Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.
The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.
Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.
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