Tony Romo has played more than a dozen years for America's Team, but it took until this week for him to become America's Quarterback.
With one prepared statement, Romo earned a level of respect he never approached during a career in which he's played at the level of a Hall of Famer. His four-minute, 58-second speech produced universal acclaim from both inside and outside the sports world. On the way out of my house on Wednesday morning, they were discussing the press conference on the damn "Today" show. That's right: Check your grandmother's DVR if you want to know how Romo's speech resonated with Carson Daly and Savannah Guthrie.
And what a speech it was! This was one of the country's most famous athletes laying himself bare in a way we've never really seen before. Can you remember an in-season press conference that was anything remotely like this? How about that closing comment?
"I feel like we all have two battles, or two enemies, going on. One with the man across from you. The second is with the man inside of you. I think once you control the one inside of you, the one across from you really doesn't matter. I think that's what we're all trying to do."
The Cowboys naturally are taking the baton here and running with it. They quickly turned around a sappy (but effective) montage video that featured Romo's statement laid underneath video highlights and obligatory orchestral swell. Romo's Cowboys legacy is now in a safe place, even if he has to suffer the potential indignity of being a backup quarterback sitting on a Super Bowl riser on Media Night. Oh, the humanity.
Quick story: During Super Bowl week in 2013, I was among the media contingent making daily visits to a New Orleans hotel ballroom for 49ers player availability leading up to their game with the Ravens. Day after day, Alex Smith sat in his chair and respectfully answered questions about losing his job to Colin Kaepernick in the middle of the season. Smith was a total pro all week, but by the end of the week, you could tell it had worn on him. I wouldn't be totally surprised if you told me he was behind the power outage in the third quarter.
Where does that leave us? Well, for starters, we have to come to grips with giving this NFL season over to the Dallas Cowboys. NFL Network and ESPN might as well move their headquarters to AT&T Stadium, because that's all you're going to hear about from now until the Cowboys' season is over, whenever that might be.
Dallas being 8-1 is one thing, but the Romo-Dak melodrama has taken Cowboymania into the stratosphere. A trusty equation: Good Cowboys team + compelling human-interest angle involving superstar QB = ultimate national media catnip. Why do you think that dopey Skip Bayless-Shannon Sharpe show was running promos during Sunday's FOX games with Sharpe taunting Bayless about Romo's supposed return to the starting lineup? The Cowboys move the needle. We're all along for the ride -- whether we want to be or not.
At least the Romo story is the real deal. This is no manufactured media narrative. Can you even imagine what would happen if Romo were to enter a game in a big spot this season? Picture it: As Dak Prescott is helped off the field, Romo snaps in his chin strap and the crowd goes wild. He punctuates his first drive with a long touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. The stadium would shake; Twitter would crash; Troy Aikman would have Joe Buck's brain matter all over his fancy sports jacket.
No one wants to see Prescott get hurt -- and it's hard to imagine Dak melting down to the point of a benching -- but the theater of Romo getting one more shot to write a storybook ending to his Cowboys career is a tantalizing thought. Let's make sure there's someone around to hold T.O. if it happens.
Three and out ...
There's just no freaking way Cam thinks these look good. It's not possible. It looks like he has two dead squirrels in there.
Just when I thought the numbers-as-letters thing had died the grisly death it deserved, it roars back into the spotlight. It's like dumb marketing whack-a-mole. Also, this guy just screams "longtime season-ticket holder" doesn't he?
I am the only one following this Kurt Warner background shot story right now. It's my beat. We had a major development this week. MAJOR.
What happened to the medieval torture devices? What does the new background represent? What became of the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award? What is Kurt Warner trying to tell us?
The answer is out there. How bad do you want it?