Tony Romo: maligned hometown hero or ultimate choke artist?
The "Sports Illustrated Curse" lives.
It was just a few weeks ago that the nation's premier sports publication put up a hearty defense of oft-maligned Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Burlington native Tony Romo. They even put him on the cover.
Enter the Green Bay Packers who pulled off an improbably 37-36 win over Romo and his charges Sunday, a victory that came after Dallas built a huge lead at the intermission, a comeback enhanced by a pair of crucial Romo fourth-quarter interceptions.
That Green Bay even had a pulse after Romo and the 'Pokes built a 26-3 halftime lead is a story onto itself, and the final gun had no sooner sounded (wait, they don't do that any more, do they?) and fingers were flying on keyboards all over the land.
There's Dallas Morning news columnist Rick Gosselin who's Monday morning dispatch is headlined thusly: "Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo Chokes In The Clutch Again."
Then there's Deadspin with an exact opposite take, criticizing Dallas coach Jason Garrett and the team's offensive coordinator for sketchy second half play-calling, particularly the reluctance to run the football after halftime after proving they could do so at will in the first two quarters.
It would seem, upon further review, that both of the late picks are on Romo. On the first, he switched out of a rare called run and tried to hit Miles Austin over the middle. On the second, NBC analyst Rodney Harrison said that Romo failed to read the Pack's defense and the fact that his target would change his route. Romo, he says, threw to the wrong spot.
That the Cowboys put themselves in such straits will be the talk of the national media all week long, how they blew a chance to better their divisional title quest by tossing away a seemingly insurmountable lead to a foe that showed no defensive backbone in the first half and little in the way of an offense that was powered by a fourth-resort at QB.
Packers fans? No one cares how it went down, or that it was one of our own who, in the eyes of many, wears the goat horns in Big D Monday morning. Green Bay's effort Sunday was one for the ages, tying a franchise mark for greatest comeback ever. Romo, meanwhile, will remain an NFL flash point until he wins a big game or doesn't make a huge mistake down the stretch. It doesn't help that his team didn't do it's collective job in the second half, neither the guys wearing pads or the ones donning headsets.
That's someone else's problem this Monday morning because, in Packerland, Christmas came a week and a half early. Nothing is sweeter than a Green Bay win in come-from-behind fashion, executed in front of a squirming Jerry Jones in the owner's own palace, fueled by his QB-of-choice's miscues.