Just one week ago Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was on every sports news cast, newspaper, radio, you name it; everyone was talking about Romo. Talking about Romo and the dramatic loss to the New York Jets on Sunday Night. He was called a choke artist, embarrassment, butterfingers, and they said he couldn’t do it clutch, he couldn’t make it the NFL, he couldn’t win a playoff game, and that he couldn’t win when it matters.
Well one week later in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California against the San Fransico 49ers the critics were firing away again. The 49ers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and Romo looked like the Romo that they were calling him. Drive after drive ending in the same result; no touchdown and no field goal.
Then it happened Romo stepped back in the pocket, fired, and hit wide receiver Miles Austin for a 53 yard touchdown. 14-7, 49ers lead. Though just when you thought Romo was back at the top, he let you down yet again.
Romo wouldn’t start the second half due to an apparent rib injury that he suffered on an earlier play during the game. So that meant backup quarterback Jon Kitna was in. Coming in on his first drive Kitna would get two first downs until he would throw an interception. But it would get worse, more news would come out that the rib injury was a fracture and Romo’s return was doubtful. Coming back on the next drive Kitna would redeem himself throwing a 5 yard touchdown to Miles Austin.
Still no Romo…
After stopping the 49ers again Kitna would return to the field only to let Dallas fans down again by throwing another interception; all hope was lost. No Romo meant no win. Responding off of the Kitna interception the 49ers would score off of a 29 yard touchdown 21-14, 49ers.
Getting ready to take the field again Kitna would get the pat on his thigh from Tony Romo; he was coming back out. He was going to play! Fractured rib and all Romo didn’t care as he knew that they needed a win.
Unfortunately it was the same story; three and out, 49ers ball. The 49ers would then drive down the field and would score on a David Akers 55 yard field goal, 24-14, 49ers.
Still fighting the Cowboys coming out on their next drive lead by Romo would drive down the field while Romo, taking hit after hit, after every pass would come through. Romo would throw a 25 yard pass to Miles Austin; 24-21 lead.
Forcing the 49ers to punt the Cowboys trailing by three with four minuets to go would need to drive down the field for at least a field goal, and they would need Romo to do it. Driving up the field pass after pass…play after play…tick after tick…the Cowboys would just maybe do it.
Four seconds to go down by three, the Cowboys would line-up for a field goal. From 48 yards Dan Bailey would hit it! They were heading for overtime.
Standing tall the Cowboys defense would force the 49ers to a three and out giving Romo and the Cowboys the ball back. This was his chance, to prove that he was clutch, that he could do it in the fourth quarter or when it matters, and that he wasn’t a choke artist, but most importantly get the win.
On their first down out Tony Romo would find wide receiver Jesse Holley for a 77 yard gain, putting the Cowboys in field goal distance, and lined up perfectly for a win.
Snap…kick…its good. The Cowboys made the comeback and they did it with Romo. Though, the story wasn’t that Romo finally did it in when it mattered, that he didn’t choke in the fourth quarter, that he didn’t fumble the snap; that wasn’t the story. And the story wasn’t that Romo came back into the game injured and all; with a fractured rib (injury would later become worse)…that wasn’t it either.
What the story was that the Cowboys came back and got the win; that’s what mattered and that’s what the story was to Tony Romo. “I didn’t want to be 0-2,” Romo said. “Getting into an 0-2 hole is devastating in the National Football League.”
The injury would later be released as more than just a fractured rib, but two fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
So call him a choke artist, a choker, a bum, whatever, call him what you want you want. But what you can’t call him is a quitter, bust, or un-manly, because what Tony Romo did on Sunday in Candlestick Park was truly remarkable and unbelievable…now that’s a football player.