The Tony Romo era is over for the Dallas Cowboys organization. Romo will retire from the National Football League and pursue a career in broadcasting, sources confirmed to WFAA Tuesday morning.
He will not wear the Star on his helmet anymore.
The way Romo is remembered will be a complicated, evolving mess of conflicting emotions for Cowboys fans. The way he is looked at today is different than how he was viewed three years ago. And it will be different still, three years from now.
At the beginning, he was the hot shot backup quarterback that everyone loved. The replacement for an aging Drew Bledsoe, and the gunslinger with the patented roll-away-from-pressure move that left defenders clueless, who pushed a young mid-'00s Cowboys team to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Then he was the guy who botched the snap against the Seahawks -- and unfortunately, for altogether-too-large faction of Cowboys fans, that was who he remained.
But he was, in reality, far more than that. He played in an era of -- as WFAA Sports Anchor Dale Hansen likes to call it – “pinball numbers.”
But he was in the upper echelon of quarterbacks, when it came to compiling those pinball numbers. Fourth all-time in passer rating. The Cowboys franchise leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. A four-time Pro Bowler. An MVP candidate in 2014 (and depending upon who you ask, 2015 too).
He was, legitimately, very productive.
Many Cowboys fans will remember the lack of playoff wins. Only two, over the course of 10 years as the Cowboys starter. Most importantly -- zero Super Bowls. And that is the standard by which Cowboys quarterbacks are judged.
Fans remember and love Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
Danny White and Don Meredith are the 'oh yeah' guys.
It may not be fair. But it's reality.
Romo is probably a more talented, more gifted quarterback than White and Meredith. But he'll forever be in their category, not the other one.
For the fans that loved Romo -- you were right to. He was a tough as nails, gritty, lunchpail kind of guy. Frankly, the kind of guy who doesn't fit the stereotype of 'quarterback'. He played through everything -- torn rib cartilage in 2008, a broken rib and punctured lung in 2011, and multiple back injuries in several years.
Part of his legacy will be his injury prone final two seasons in Dallas. There is no escaping that. But before that, he was a grinder.
For the fans that hated Romo -- you had a right to. There were plays he didn't make, interceptions he threw, snaps he fumbled, and more.
But that narrative has always been overplayed. Look at the real numbers -- Romo was routinely excellent in the fourth quarter, and won a lot of games for this franchise that, frankly, they had no business winning.
But today, that time has come to an end. It is Dak Prescott's team, and franchise, now. He is the quarterback of the future. Romo is now the past.
Tony Romo was good. Really good. But never quite good enough to win a Super Bowl.
Now it's Dak's turn to try.