Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Tony Romo: A Career In Takes

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If Tony Romo deserves to be remembered for anything, it’s that he managed to make nearly everyone look fucking stupid.

The Cowboys quarterback announced his retirement today and you could make the argument that he’s the greatest quarterback in the history of his franchise. He beats out Troy Aikman in terms of career winning percentage, completion percentage, yardage, touchdowns (by nearly a hundred!), TD/INT ratio, and yards per attempt. He was a master of extending the play, and almost single-handedly helped restore the Cowboys’ football credibility after a decade of Jerry Jones doing his best to fuck everything up.


But of course, that’s not what you will remember the most. You remember the botched snap, and Cabo, and Dez Caught The Ball, and HE CAN’T WIN IN DECEMBER. More than perhaps any other quarterback, Romo exemplified the ways in which a quarterback who experiences heartbreak can engender equal parts blame from fans and excuses from the broadcast booth. He was a brilliant improviser who never won a title, and that makes him the ideal canvas for TAKES. Indeed, before there were Cam Newton takes, there were Romo takes. And so I think the best way to pay tribute to the man today is to look back at his career through that prism. Here now is Tony Romo’s career in takes.

Colin Cowherd:


Ed Werder:


 Bill Simmons:

Tony Romo dumped Jessica Simpson for either partying too much (the rumored reason) or gaining too much weight (the real reason, or at least the one I’d wager on in Vegas), followed by Simpson partying even more and gaining even more weight. We might have a new Kirstie Alley on our hands; poor Jess suddenly is built like Kirby Puckett with breasts. (Not that this is a bad thing. I’m actually attracted to Zaftig Clingy No Self-Esteem Jess, my single strangest celebrity attraction since Renee Zellweger put on her Bridget Jones weight.) Did you ever think an NFL offseason could shape about 20 future Us Weekly covers? It’s happened, my friends. Sneaky weird.


 Skip Bayless:

First Take discusses Tony Romo’s attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open and whether or not it’ll be a distraction for the Cowboys’ quarterback — especially after Romo has just said his career will be defined by winning a Super Bowl. It’s no surprise that Skip Bayless is totally against Romo’s hobby during the offseason, saying he should be spending his time getting ready for the season and working out with receivers.


 Steve Serby and Bart Hubbuch:

Tony Romo’s defenders — yes, they actually exist — love to say his reputation as a choke artist is undeserved, that it’s just a phony “narrative” cooked up by uninformed detractors. Good luck defending that after Sunday’s debacle against the Packers.


 Rick Morrissey:

What was the upside? Somebody please explain it to me.

How was Tony Romo supposed to benefit from his off-week trip to Mexico with singer/actress/whatever-it-is-she-is Jessica Simpson? And, more important, how were the Cowboys supposed to benefit from their most important player jetting off to a resort the week before a playoff game?

Oh, I see. You’re telling me the trip allowed Romo to show up more relaxed for the Cowboys-Giants game yesterday. But couldn’t he and Simpson have shared a lazy cigarette in Dallas instead of in Los Cabos and been just as “relaxed” for the game?

I’ve got to say, I don’t know how relaxing it would be going out with the fetching Ms. Simpson. Now, I’m not proposing that coaches go back to instituting a ban on sex the night before a game, but I am saying it’s not outrageous to suggest that a quarterback should be concentrating on the upcoming game and not on what Jessica’s father once referred to as her “double D’s” - and I don’t think he meant her doctoral dissertation.


 Gary Myers:

Romo is a good guy and takes football seriously, but he has become a celebrity quarterback. That he was on vacation instead of watching tapes reinforces the perception.


 Terrell Owens:

“Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite in this locker room. I think with everything that happened, and obviously the way Tony played ...I think a lot of people feel like she’s kind of taken his focus away.”


 Jason Whitlock:

But T.O. and his sideline histrionics wear on a quarterback. He’s like the hot stripper you tried to clean up and convert into a real girlfriend. It’s a lot of fun until the moment she has her second drink while out to eat with your parents. You unravel quicker than she does… You can’t turn a T.O. into a housewife.


 Gregg Easterbrook:

Tony Romo, paid about as much as Super Bowl winners Tom Brady and Joe Flacco, does hit lots of passes but often vanishes in the clutch. The Boys were 0-for-9 on third downs. Ye gods… Jason Garrett, the head coach, is a Princeton graduate, so why is the Cowboys’ football IQ so low?



Tony Romo’s chokery is so reliable that you can now schedule it. Want proof? Seven straight Sunday Night Football losses. Each one more pathetic than the last. It has become a fall tradition for people to gather around the TV on a Sunday night four times a year to watch this team gag like a rookie pornstar. And the best part is that I get to watch it happen again TOMORROW! That’s right! This team lost its last two SNF games to the Giants, and loogit who they get to play in the opener. In primetime. On SNF (albeit on a Wednesday night). These same Giants. They have no prayer of winning. None. If you have a deed to your house, go ahead and bet it on New York and enjoy having two houses next week. [NOTE: Dallas won this game]


 Jay Mariotti:

Jerry Jones is dabbling in fantasy when reality says Romo might not be a better idea than Jon Kitna, the veteran who wisely was signed as a backup.


 Troy Aikman:

I think maybe things happened so quickly for Tony in terms of obscurity to all of a sudden national spotlight that he hasn’t fully grasped what being the Cowboys quarterback is all about… And you don’t go to Cabo the week before a playoff game. You just don’t do it. It didn’t take away from his preparations. I know that. I mean, everything he says is I think accurate. I don’t think that had any bearing. But to say, ‘I don’t worry about perception,’ you better worry about perception, because it’s a big part of making it through some very difficult times.


Skip Bayless, again:


Peter King:

“3. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas. Is it my imagination, or does Romo lead the league in smiling?”


So fare thee well, Romo. Now it’s YOUR turn to make the takes.

Share This Story

About the author

Drew Magary

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.