Tony Romo will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in Cowboys history -- not an easy feat considering the franchise's good fortune with signal callers over the years. Unlike predecessors Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, Romo did not win a Super Bowl. But in their spirit, he completed a career full of fantastic and heartbreaking moments. It is impossible to tell the story of the Dallas Cowboys without him.
In an effort to look back on his career, here are five of his most memorable moments in Dallas and why they set him apart.
- The last playoff victory: Romo's last playoff win was -- you guessed it -- a comeback. Down 14-0 at one point and 20-7 in the third quarter, the Cowboys had their backs against the wall facing a high-octane Lions team in the 2014 Wild Card Round. Romo, though, was stoic and threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns in the win. The exciting part of his game was the late maturity. Romo evolved quickly from raw prospect to capable NFL starter, but over time, his rise from capable NFL starter to elite NFL starter was cemented. This game was perhaps the apex of his postseason exploits and a sign of what might have been this year in Houston.
- The comeback vs. Giants: Romo's final drive against the Giants in Week 1 of the 2015 season is on this list because of how completely bittersweet it was. Romo pulled Dallas from a win probability of less than one percent to fling a game-winning touchdown pass at Jason Witten with 11 seconds remaining. The stunning win came on the heels of a 13-3 season the year prior where Dallas came within five points and a would-be catch from defeating the Green Bay Packers in the divisional game. Two weeks after that Giants win, Romo was injured and turned the team over to Brandon Weeden, sinking Dallas from NFC powerhouse to 4-12 bottom feeder. Romo is the most prolific come-from-behind quarterback in Dallas Cowboys history, and something tells me we were robbed of some special moments that year when he went down.
- The playoff botched snap: Romo flubbed a potential game-winning field goal snap back in 2006 that cost Dallas a playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks, which is a moment he is remembered for without context. But as NFL Media's Mike Silver noted Tuesday, Romo was still the holder precisely because he started the year as the backup and led Dallas to the playoffs from a 3-3 record. The following season, he led Dallas to a 13-3 record and a first-round bye in the playoffs before the team lost to the Giants in Texas. Those who have never had a broken collarbone or back like to laughably question Romo's physical toughness, but his mental toughness never seemed to be in question after how well he performed in 2007. A potentially career-defining mistake turned into a season where he threw for 4,211 yards and 36 touchdowns.
- The botched snap conversion: While this play occurred in a non-consequential late September win over the then-St. Louis Rams, it seemed to perfectly encapsulate young Romo in one fleeting moment. On a third-and-3 with 56 seconds to go in the first half, a snap flies over Romo's head and skips from midfield all the way back to the 15-yard line. Romo picks up the snap, evades a Rams defender in open space and rumbles for the first down. The Cowboys scored about 40 seconds later on another Romo run, this time a 15-yarder. While there have been better mobile quarterbacks and better drop-back quarterbacks, Romo had a Favre-like quality to his game that made him unbelievably fun to watch at times.
- The Dak Prescott concession speech: While this did not take place on the field, Romo's statement back on Nov. 15 may have defined the end of his football career and the beginning of his time as a public speaker. While he may have felt differently behind closed doors, Romo's speech about passion, acceptance and supporting teammates was an important message for people to hear. As scripted as it felt, carrying the tone of a Shane Falco speech from The Replacements, it represented a fascinating benchmark in a truly unexpected season for the Cowboys, one Romo did not play a part in. Eventually some of the ugliness in this situation seeped out, with Romo distancing himself from the pro-Prescott teammates and coaches. Jerry Jones potentially cost us another year of Romo in the NFL by not releasing him right away. But at that moment, everything followed a tight, morally redeeming arc that just felt right.
Bonus: The final snaps. With 13 minutes to go in the second quarter of the season finale against Philadelphia, Tony Romo made his first and only appearance of the 2016 NFL season. The result? A deep laser that fell incomplete followed by a completion over the middle on a deep in to Terrance Williams on third-and-11. Romo would go deep again to Dez Bryant, drawing a pass interference call before a cheeky pump and go pass to Williams for the touchdown. Why is the inconsequential drive on the list? Because who knows if Romo is done for good. As just about every analyst and reporter with a connection to the quarterback has reported, Romo could keep his eye out for a comeback opportunity. Knowing what we know about the NFL, are we ready to completely put to bed the possibility that he rides to the rescue in 2017? Romo might watch his final drive a few times over the coming months and realize he's still got it.