With the stakes at their highest late in Sunday's divisional playoff matchup against the Packers, the Cowboys quarterback delivered a perfect throw to Dez Bryant on fourth-and-2. You know what happened next. Bryant made the leaping grab but temporarily lost possession while reaching for the goal line. The catch was ruled incomplete upon review, and the Cowboys' offense never got back on the field.
Romo could have shifted his legacy forever with that play. Instead, the NFL rulebook -- and perhaps the football gods -- were against him.
"Just to lose in general is disappointing," Romo said after the game, according to ESPN.com. "I have played long enough to understand that you don't have these kinds of teams on your side to play in these games consistently. When you have that opportunity, you want to take advantage. It just doesn't feel very good right now because you feel like you let one slip away and that you had an opportunity with a good ball club that had a chance to win this thing.
"That is going to eat at you for a while."
Romo gets it. He'll turn 35 before the start of next season and is playing with a twice surgically repaired back. He took a beating on Sunday, too. A hit to his knee left him with a visible limp after the game. He also believes he suffered ligament damage in the ring finger of his non-throwing hand, an injury he eschewed any type of treatment on over concerns of ball security.
This after a career-best season in which he played through a rib cartilage injury and two small fractures in his lower back.
"You have heard me say this before, but I just believe it so much in my heart that Tony Romo's greatest traits are his physical and mental toughness," coach Jason Garrett said. "All the great players in this league have those traits. Tony certainly exhibits them week in and week out. He's certainly done it all year long and he demonstrated it today.
"When things don't go our way, he kept battling back. When people hit him, he kept battling back. He made critical throws throughout this ballgame and gave us a great chance to win it at the end."