Tony Romo‘s actual name is Antonio Ramiro Romo born April 21, 1980 in San Diego, California. He was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He played college football at Eastern Illinois.
In his early years:
Romo was born in San Diego, California, while his father was serving in the United States Navy. His family returned to its home in Burlington, Wisconsin when he was 24 months old. Tony’s athletic ability was evident even at an early age when he was selected for the Little League All Star team.
Tony started at quarterback for the Burlington Demons beginning as a junior (1996 season). During his junior season, Tony led the Demons to a SLC Conference record of 7-2 and the WIAA playoffs. In the 1996 playoffs, Romo and the Demons defeated Greenfield 17-6 before trouncing Badger 41-16. Romo came within one game of the state championship game but fell short in a last-minute 16-15 loss to Cudahy. After the 1996 season, Tony received Honorable Mention in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State Team.
Before his senior year of high school, BHS was realigned into the new SEC Conference along with the larger Racine and Kenosha metro schools. In the 1997 season, Romo and the Demons finished with a 3-6 record, though Tony earned several honors, including the All-Racine County football team, Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State first team honors, as well as honors by the Racine Journal Times 1997 Player of the Year.
Romo was a multi-sport athlete during high school, and in addition to being a member of the football team, Tony also was a starter on the BHS varsity basketball team. Romo also played golf and tennis.
Romo played college football at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. As a sophomore in 2000, Romo ranked second in Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 164 of 278 (59%) passes for 2,583 yards and 27 touchdowns. After the season, he was honored as an All-America honorable mention, an All-Ohio Valley Conference member, and the OVC Player of the Year. As a junior, he led Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 138-of-207 passes for 2,068 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was selected to the AP All-America third team, All-Ohio Valley Conference first team and the OVC Player of the Year.
On December 19, 2002, Romo was the first player in Eastern Illinois and Ohio Valley Conference history to win the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the Nation’s top player at the NCAA Division I-AA level. He finished his career holding school and conference records with 85 touchdown passes. His last college game was a playoff loss to Western Illinois University. He was second in school and third in conference history with 8,212 passing yards.
Romo attended the 2003 NFL Combine, but, despite intriguing some scouts, went undrafted during the 2003 NFL Draft. Throughout the draft, Romo was assured by Sean Payton of the Cowboys’ interest (Romo was also intensely pursued by Denver head coach Mike Shanahan), and shortly afterwards was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cowboys. Romo entered the 2003 training camp third on the Cowboys’ depth chart behind Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson. In 2004, the Cowboys released quarterback Chad Hutchinson and signed veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde and traded a third round draft pick to the Houston Texans for quarterback Drew Henson. Romo faced being cut from the roster until Quincy Carter was released following allegations of substance abuse. After Vinny Testaverde’s tenure in Dallas ended in 2005, the Cowboys signed veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the eighth starting quarterback for the Cowboys since 2000.
One of Romo’s early career highlights was in 2004, when (as the 3rd string QB) he rushed for the winning TD with 6 seconds left in an exhibition contest against the Oakland Raiders. Elevated to the Cowboys’ #2 quarterback in 2005, Romo had strong showings in the 2005 and 2006 pre-seasons. In the 2006 off-season, Sean Payton (now head coach of the New Orleans Saints), offered a third round draft pick for Romo, but Jerry Jones refused, asking for no less than a second round draft pick. Romo eventually took over the starting quarterback role from Drew Bledsoe during half time against the New York Giants.
Romo played in the 2007 Pro Bowl after Drew Brees went down with an elbow injury and Marc Bulger was taken out. Romo threw one touchdown and one interception. Romo was the NFC’s holder in the game.
In 2007 Romo led the Dallas Cowboys to a franchize record only matched by the 92 season led byTroy Aikman. he threw for 4211 yards (3rd in the NFL) and 36 touchdown passes during the regular season (second only to Tom Brady). His 97.4 passer rating was good enough for 5th in the NFL behind Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, David Garrard, and Peyton Manning.
On October 29, Romo reached an agreement to a six-year, $67.5 million contract extension with the Cowboys. The extension will bring Romo to eleven total seasons with the Cowboys.
During the 2008 season, Romo broke the pinky finger on his right hand (throwing hand) during overtime in an early season loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the following three games with the injury.
Shortly after the Cowboys 2008 Season-ending loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Romo collapsed in the visiting team showers from an apparent rib injury.
The 2008 season ended with people questioning Romo’s heart and his maturity, and a dismal 9-7 record. I for one am preying for a lot better job next year.