Precisely 352 days ago, things were looking up for the Dallas Cowboys. The quarterback of America’s Team – Tony Romo – had marched his offense to yet another game winning drive, as the Cowboys began their path towards redemption in 2015 with a divisional win against the Giants.
Redemption may have fit well into the agenda of the Dallas Cowboys a year ago, but not for Father Time, who sets his schedule as purely as the days go by. He made his first appearance just seven days after the Dallas Cowboys’ spirited 2015 opening win, as Tony Romo was knocked out on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles with a broken collarbone.
Time healed all wounds, but don’t tell that to Cowboys Nation, who passed the time waiting for Romo’s return by watching their team drop seven straight games with the likes of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel “commanding” the offense.
All of the losing made Romo’s return all the more refreshing, as the Cowboys were functional once again with their leader on the field in Miami during a win over the Dolphins. That is, until later in the week when Thanksgiving night and Father Time would spell the end of Tony Romo’s 2015 season with a second collarbone break.
At the time, we didn’t think about the long-term future for Romo and his football team.
In fact, it was almost slightly reassuring, knowing that the collective eyes of the team and its fans could turn towards 2016 – where the calendar would be flipped, talent would be added, and the revenge would finally come for the silver and blue.
Poetically, the 2016 season took a great turn 11 short days ago, as Romo made his debut against the Dolphins at home, and played in two series while going unscathed. The winning ways of the Cowboys were back, until they weren’t.
Father Time came back to greet #9 with a scary back injury the following week in Seattle on just the third play of the game. For the second time in his last three games, Tony Romo was down on the field in a helpless amount of pain. As he has done countless times, Tony fought back to walk off the field on his own power, before being forced to sit out for the remainder of the action by his Head Coach Jason Garrett.
Romo even took a shot back at Father Time. His post game comments about feeling good about being able to survive a real hit like this allowed Cowboys Nation to begin their slow exhale – until our breaths were taken away completely all at once again.
Now it was time to talk about the end of an era. Now was the time for Romo to consider retirement. Now was the time for the Cowboys to plan for a future without one of their franchises’ best ever quarterbacks and never look back. These were all things we heard after learning three days ago that Romo had broken his L1 vertebrae, and that his regular season return would not be happening anytime soon.
What we do know is that Romo’s return will indeed happen. While it will be ignored by the masses, multiple doctors have assessed Romo’s injury as one that should absolutely not force retirement.
Monday Morning MD: No medical reason for Tony Romo to retire https://t.co/qFUkzlDvG1 via @footballpost
Yet another significant injury setback is certainly not great for Romo at this stage in his career, but that is not to say that the veteran does not have some winning football – or “Romo magic” – left in him.
Playing 16 games in 2016 was always going to be a long shot for Tony Romo, and now that is already guaranteed to not happen. Instead, the Cowboys can wholeheartedly expect a fired up Romo to come back at some point in the season where the games will mean more, and the big wins need to be delivered.
I’m here to say that Romo still has those wins in him, at least through the end of this season. The Cowboys’ offense is loaded with talent outside of Romo, enough to instill confidence in rookie Dak Prescott to handle the burden of being thrown into starting.
A big reason for Dak’s success so far has been his teammates helping him out with some big plays. While it will be great to see more of that from Dak and his pass catchers in the regular season, imagine the spark that players like Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, and Ezekiel Elliott will play with once Romo is under center.
Nine wins was all it took to win the NFC East last year, and the division appears wide open once again. It is wide open for a Tony Romo amount of wins to bring a team to the playoffs in 2016, where anything is possible.
Tony Romo’s story is winding to a close, but he will write his final chapters on the field where he belongs. The ultimate competitor that he is, Romo has some big things in store for us in 2016.
Until then, let’s appreciate Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and the entirety of this Cowboys team – all of whom understand what Romo means to their chances at success.
We won’t be able to say this at some point. That is an objective fact. Father Time will make sure of this. Until then though, Tony Romo is my quarterback – and your quarterback as well.
Our quarterback hasn’t quit. Next man up.