I'm not a Cowboys fan, and there are no white No. 9 jerseys in my closet. He won me no fantasy titles and I don't have a nuanced take in the "IS TONY ROMO A HALL OF FAMER?" conversation other than, "Yeah, probably."
But when you look at Romo's career through the prism of football-as-entertainment, the man was a godsend. He was the rare lightning rod where it felt like both sides of the debate had a good case. You could paint him as clutch or a world-class choke artist, a dependable franchise quarterback or an injury-ravaged liability, the ideal face of the franchise archetype or a star who could be swayed by the perks of fame.
You could mold Tony Romo into anything you wanted him to be. Somewhere, Skip Bayless sobs uncontrollably on a fainting couch.
Football fans, especially football fans in Dallas, will argue over Romo's legacy for decades. How his successor, Dak Prescott, fares moving forward will shape Romo's legacy as well. But don't let any of his detractors fool you: The NFL was a more exciting place when Romo and the Cowboys were making things happen. This new generation of Dallas players has America's Team as relevant as ever, but Romo brought the pathos.
Before we move on -- I'm aware there's no shortage of flaming Romo takes at your fingertips today -- I'll share my favorite Romo game. It was the perfect embodiment of The Tony Romo Experience; four quarters that showed the quarterback at his game-changing best and star-crossed worst.
Romo played like a hybrid of Joe Namath and Troy Aikman, setting a Cowboys record with 506 passing yards and five touchdown passes on just 36 attempts. It was hardly a banner day for a Denver defense missing Von Miller, but the below highlight package reminds you how easy everything seemed to come to Romo when he was locked in.
And since I set this up by calling it the perfect summation of The Tony Romo Experience, you know it can't end well. It did not ...