Has there ever been a worse weekend for DFW sports fans? First, there was the thing with the bats and balls we’re not even going to get into, then the Dallas Cowboys lost 34-7 to their hated rivals in TV’s Sunday night feature game. The only things that could make it worse would be Dirk Nowizki slamming his shooting hand in a car door and Mark Cuban getting another reality show.
Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles hyped the floor with Rob Ryan’s Dallas defense Sunday night, jumping out to a 34-0 lead by executing with precision, pushing white jerseys around in the trenches and turning LeSean McCoy into Barry Sanders reincarnate. “The Cream Team” outplayed Dallas in every way imaginable, making the Cowboys playoff dreams as futile as DPS catching a speeder on Mopac at five o’clock on a weekday. Coming off a bye week, Andy Reid’s Eagles are the 1972 Dolphins, 13-0 and counting. Amazingly, both teams are 3-4, which at this point is like saying that Jeff Beck and the guitar player for Flaccid Nightstick both have 10 fingers.
Before the game, Chris Collingsworth—who rivals Troy Aikman as pro football’s best commentator—remarked that Dallas could very well be 6-0 going in. After the way they were beaten, like the Eagles were Jake LaMotta and caught them in bed with his wife, the Cowboys looked like a team that could just as easily be 1-6. To the credit of players and coaches, the Cowboys kept playing hard, but they just don’t seem to be very good.
Perhaps the greatest testament to Philadelphia’s complete domination was that Dallas starting satyrback (half hero / half goat) Tony Romo provided zero drama. It was like leaving a movie and saying you didn’t realize Al Pacino was in it. The Cowboys lost and, for once, Romo didn’t trend on Twitter.
“Can you believe that Tony Romo?” are words on paper that tell you nothing about a Dallas Cowboys game just played. You need to see if the person talking has his or her head in their hands or two fists in the air. “Freaking Romo!” Same thing.
Being a diehard fan of a team led by field general Romo is, usually, to have a year taken off your life one Sunday, then put back the next week. The jaws of defeat have a love/hate relationship with number 9, not knowing if he’s going to feed them another fourth quarter feast or snatch victory from their chomp in the last seconds. Romo has even helped evolution along, making Cowboy fans hearts grow a protective lining or else the species may start to become extinct after too many more games like the collossal collapse against the Detroit Lions October 2, when Romo unraveled by throwing two INTs that were returned for touchdowns and the Cowboys blew a 24-point lead in the second half.
Sunday night, Romo’s mission was to try and make the loss respectable. He’s been nicknamed the Romocoaster for the way he can bring emotions to deep valleys and soaring peaks, but the only thing last night proved was that, for his sixth season as a starter, this ride ain’t going anywhere near Super Bowl Mountain.
The rout did have a couple of productive developments. Running back DeMarco Murray’s 253-yard game against St. Louis last week proved to be no fluke; Felix Jones can take all the time he needs to get healthy. And, wide receiver Laurent Robinson could be this year’s Miles Austin (who’s been playing like past years’ Sam Hurd). The defensive backs looked confused all game and the linebackers, after Sean Lee left with an injury, didn’t make any plays. Meanwhile, Vick felt more pressure from the handful of PETA protesters when he arrived than from the vaunted Dallas defensive live.
You can’t blame Romo for this one. No, Buddy Ryan’s boy Rob—wearing the Emmylou Harris wig—is the one who mouthed off before the season that his team would beat the All-Hype Eagles and then had to watch Vick and McCoy and Desean Jackson and the rest march up and down the field like the Cowboys were hired by the city of Philadelphia to raise civic morale.
Usually Romo’s meltdowns are late in the season, like in 2007 when the division-winning 13-3 Cowboys were driving for a winning toughdown against the Giants, but ended up losing 21-17, as R.W. McQuarters intercepted Romo in the end zone. The next two years found Romo having All-Pro regular seasons and dreadful playoffs, with the Cowboys losing 44-6 to Philadelphia in 2008 and 34-3 to Brett Favre and Minnesota in 2009.
This season, Romo got all the heart-stopping action going early, which is good because after Sunday Cowboys games don’t look like like they’ll mean much late in the year except to see where the Cowboys will pick in the draft. We remember opening night against the Jets at the Meadowlands, when Lassie Ryan was trouncing his twin Footsie for three quarters until Romo flaked big time and gave the game away, .
But the next week, Romo came back in the second half with a cracked rib and punctured lung and led the Cowboys from behind to beat the 49ers in San Francisco. Jim Harbaugh’s handshake after that game was downright demure. In the week three home opener, Tony Hero thrilled the Jerry Jonestown Koolaid crew with an 18-16 come-from-behind victory against the Washington Redskins.
Romo is the greatest Dallas Cowboys quarterback ever when you look at passer ratings (Romo’s 95.5 career rating is number 4 all-time in the NFL), yardage, touchdown passes and hot girlfriends. But Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman won multiple championships, while #9’s Fredo rep goes back to the 2006 season wild card game against Seattle, when he flubbed the hold on a potential game-winning 19-yard field goal.
In the 2007 playoff loss to the Giants, Romo caught fire for going to Cabo with Jessica Simpson during the wild card weekend, but after the game Terrell Owens famously defended Antonio Ramiro Romo, by saying “That’s my quarterback.” Romo choked and T.O. choked up.
But I’m with Owens on this one. I’m standing by Tony Romo, for better or worse. That’s my quarterback. NFL’s greatest drama queen is going to one day win it all and no Super Bowl is ever going to be sweeter. Meanwhile, every time Romo blows a game, he makes Jerry Jones as miserable as a roofer in 105 degree heat, so we’ve got that going for us. Win win.