#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.
Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons
The Dallas Cowboys are returning home for Thanksgiving with a 5-5 record, needing to earn road wins at Philadelphia and Atlanta in the last two weeks to do so. Sunday's revenge win at the Falcons did not come easy, as the Cowboys conceded their first touchdown in the final two minutes of regulation to tie the game.
Missed opportunities in the red zone and penalties all had a say in the Cowboys needing a walk off Brett Maher field goal to win. Running Back Ezekiel Elliott once again sparked the offense in the second half, as the Cowboys defense assured this game wouldn't be a shootout in the first 30 minutes.
Here are my observations on the Cowboys latest thrilling win, greatly increasing their chances at reclaiming the top spot in the NFC East considering the Redskins home loss to the Texans.
- A great down-the-line play from rookie Dorance Armstrong on the Falcons' opening possession to set up DeMarcus Lawrence's first sack.
The Cowboys came into this game thin across the defensive line. Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins and Defensive End Dorance Armstrong really took advantage of the opportunity, pushing the pocket against Matt Ryan and freeing up the Cowboys linebackers to be themselves.
Lawrence's sack was the play that got the Cowboys off the field on third down, but Armstrong meeting Ito Smith in the hole for no gain was as big of a play on second down. The Falcons were smart to test the interior of the Cowboys defense and use the power run to set up their vertical passing game, but Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard simply had their guys ready to play.
If Collins and Armstrong can sustain their high-energy level of play with Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross working their way back into the Cowboys rotation at DT, this defense can reach a new level of play given their speed in the back seven and ability to give opposing offensive lines fits with just four up front.
- Cole Beasley did more than enough to make up for it, but his drop in the end zone on the Cowboys first scoring drive is one he'll want back for a while.
The Cowboys play calling on their first goal-to-go situation left a lot to be desired, but Beasley was still able to make a scoring play with the ball in his hands at the pylon. Beasley bobbled the ball going to the ground and couldn't come up with it.
On the next play, the Cowboys finally targeted Amari Cooper, although without Ezekiel Elliott on the field. It was the combination of Cooper on the outside and Elliott in the backfield that provided a boost to the Cowboys offense last week at the Eagles, and for whatever reason they went away from it consistently against the Falcons.
Beasley's 19 yard catch and run on the Cowboys final drive set them up to run Elliott and kick the game winning field goal, giving Prescott an easy target on a crossing route. These are the types of inconsistencies the Cowboys will have to happily live with as they review this win and prepare on a short week for the Redskins.
- Head Coach Jason Garrett should be questioned about how his offense handled the last drive of the first half.
Trailing by three in a game still looking for its first touchdown, the Cowboys came out firing with 29 seconds left in the first half before shutting the drive down themselves. After Elliott advanced the ball to the Cowboys 35 and prompted a timeout, his catch and run for eight yards was the final play of the half.
I have no problem with the Cowboys getting the ball safely into the hands of Elliott, but after gaining positive yards on two receptions it's inexcusable to sit on a timeout without attempting a pass to the end zone.
- The Cowboys play calling improved in the second half, evident on Dak Prescott's rushing touchdown to give the Cowboys a 12-9 lead.
Again, taking the good with the bad, the Cowboys did go to this zone read look one too many times in the second half. From four yards out against a defense playing without one of their most talented players in Linebacker Deion Jones, Prescott faking to Elliott and keeping himself is as smart and safe a play as Linehan could have called.
Prescott's score was followed by Leighton Vander Esch's second interception in as many weeks, allowing the Cowboys to go right back to hammering the football. It took just two carries for Elliott to cover 31 yards and put the Cowboys ahead 19-9 off the turnover.
His 23-yard touchdown was sprung by Right Guard Zack Martin, who deserves a ton of credit for not only dealing with an injury sustained last week but seemingly finding an even higher level of play since then to motivate his teammates.
Joe Looney filled in well for Travis Frederick once again, and Xavier Su'a-Filo replaced a now-healthy Connor Williams for the second straight game, making Martin's elite level of play much more important.
Martin's lone mistake in this game came at a costly moment though, as a false start penalty backed the Cowboys up before punting it back to the Falcons for the tying score. Although the penalty created a third and 13 that Dallas used to keep the clock running on a dump off to Elliott, their second down play call to go with another zone read was costly as well.
Prescott lost two yards on a play that didn't fool the Falcons in the slightest, creating the original third and eight situation.
- Chidobe Awuzie was actually in good position on Julio Jones' fourth quarter TD, but as has been the case all season he reacted late and was beat with the ball.
Awuzie ran stride for stride with Jones, doing his best to force the Falcons best receiver towards the sideline. To Jones' credit, he was able to stay true to his route and run under a perfect pass from Matt Ryan.
Awuzie's fate was sealed on the play when he failed to react in time to jump with Jones, who simply elevated over the Cowboys struggling cornerback to give the Falcons new life in this game. Awuzie has been given every opportunity to be the Cowboys starter across from Byron Jones, trusted by Kris Richard to be a valuable part of this defense.
Quarterbacks in need of a completion have been able to pick on Awuzie far too much this season. The Cowboys don't appear to be in any rush to change this, as Cornerback Jourdan Lewis is designated to handling jet sweeps for the Cowboys offense while Anthony Brown remains the starter in the slot.
It was Brown that struggled through all of 2017 before finding his form again this year, perhaps giving Awuzie some hope that he can respond sooner rather than later.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The early slate of games proved to be a massive one for NFC East implications. The Cowboys escaped Atlanta with a win, and minutes later the Texans put the finishing touches on a win at the Redskins. Much earlier in the afternoon, unbeknownst to the Cowboys fighting for their life at the time, the Redskins also lost Quarterback Alex Smith.
Smith broke his tibia on a hit from J.J. Watt, and will need season ending surgery according to his Head Coach Jay Gruden.
This division has been waiting for a team to seize control of it all season. Realizing this, the Cowboys didn't sulk through their poor start and made the right moves to play into contention - playing as the desperate team that often achieves a lot in this game through their last eight quarters.
Cowboys Enjoy Double Win as Redskins Lose
The Dallas Cowboys looked great on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. There were very few things to complain about their last showing and now that they're back at .500, the season doesn't seem lost as previously thought. After all, the NFC East has been a mediocre division so far in 2018 and the division title is not that far from the Cowboys' grasp.
In fact, if they win this Thursday on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys would become the NFC East's division leader. The Washington Redskins were off to a great start on the season but after falling to the Houston Texans on Sunday, they only hold a one game-lead over the Cowboys.
This will be the second time of the year these two teams face each other. Back in week 7, the Cowboys played one of their worse games on the year in Washington. Many times the Cowboys shot themselves on the foot until they failed to get to overtime as Brett Maher's FG attempt bounced off the goalpost.
This time though, things should be different.
The team is on a two-game winning streak on the road against the last two NFC Champions. Of course, neither of these teams are the same than they were in previous years, but Dallas has done a good job these past two weeks. Some staff members might be coaching for their jobs as the team approaches "now or never" territory to contend in 2018. Although play-calling and execution haven't been perfect, at least the offense is showing signs of life.
Both the Cowboys and the Redskins suffered key injuries on Sunday. Towards the end of the game, Cowboys' LT Tyron Smith went down injured and headed to the locker room. With his injury history and a short week on deck, it's tough to imagine Smith will suit up on Thursday.
Tyron Smith, as only he could say it: "It didn't feel good, but I'll be alright." #cowboyswire
However, the more serious injury came for the Redskins. Quarterback Alex Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibia and will end his season due to surgery. With Colt McCoy playing at QB for Washington, winning the NFC East will become an easier task for the Cowboys.
But they can't take the win for granted. This is a flawed, inconsistent team we're talking about. On a short week, it'll require a lot of effort to beat their hated division rivals.
DAL 22, ATL 19: Elliott, Maher Carry Cowboys to Season-Saving Win
A last-minute field goal by Brett Maher lifted the Dallas Cowboys to a 22-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. On the strength of 201 yards of total offense out of Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas improved to 5-5 and arguably saved their 2018 season.
Elliott had 122 yards rushing and 79 receiving today, plus scored one touchdown, to make up well over half of the team's offensive production. Dak Prescott was also solid, throwing for over 200 yards and committing no turnovers.
Dallas and Atlanta traded field goals in the first half, and the Falcons took a 6-3 lead into the locker room. But the Cowboys answered with a tying field goal on their first second-half possession, then scored a touchdown on their next drive.
Maher was 3/3 on his field goals today, which included a 50-yarder. A missed extra point created concern, but the Cowboys kicker delivered in the biggest moments.
Once again, Dallas' defense was impressive and played a major part in the win. The Falcons never got into the endzone until their last possession.
- Leighton Vander Esch had another interception, securing a tipped ball that lucked its way into his grasp. He also made some big tackles and continued last week's exceptional play.
- DeMarcus Lawrence was credited with 1.5 sacks, getting him back among the league leaders with 8.0 on the year.
- Elliott was Dallas' leading receiving today. Next up was Cole Beasley with five catches for 51 yards, and Cole's day could've been better if not for a dropped touchdown pass.
- Jeff Heath nearly had his second interception of the year, but Falcons WR Julio Jones made an impressive play to hit Heath and break up the catch.
- Tyron Smith left the game on the final drive with an injury, but Cam Fleming came in and the team didn't suffer for it. We'll have to see what the short Thanksgiving week means for Smith's status against the Redskins.
- Speaking of Washington, the NFC East leaders fell to 6-4 today at home against the Houston Texans. Even worse for them, QB Alex Smith suffered a nasty ankle injury is almost assuredly out for weeks to come. Colt McCoy will be their starting QB on Thursday against Dallas.
- If Dallas wins next week, they will pull even with Washington in overall record, division record, and split the head-to-head series. With the Eagles facing a tough road game today in New Orleans, and with Alex Smith going down for Washington, the NFC East may have just become the Cowboys' to control.
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