Hall of Game: wherefore art thou Romo?

It’s in fair Arlington where we lay our scene. Where ancient grudge between cowboys, giants, redskins and eagles, all too often turns to mutiny. Where civil and private money paid for the house that Jerry built. From within these confines two star-crossed lovers spring forth: Antonio Ramiro Romo and the Dallas fan base.

At the end of each season, from the upper balconies of Cowboys Stadium reverberates the same old lament: Romo, oh Romo, wherefore art thou Romo?

There’s no doubt about it: Tony Romo is a hero, … a tragic hero.  No other character can induce the same kind of emotion, ranging from intense (platonic) love and adoration, to utter despair and deep felt sorrow. A dichotomy of feelings shouldn’t be surprising as a tragic hero harbors two personae.

On the one hand there is the enigmatic, desirable Romo: 3-time All-American, heir of the house Jerry built, heartthrob of society (for references contact Simpson, Jessica). Owner of 4 Cowboys careers records, 7 Cowboys season records and 2 Cowboys game records (And the historic Cowboys teams weren’t stacked with slouches.).  Owner of a 95.6 career passer rating, a 64.7% pass completion percentage and 177 touchdowns in what amounts to 7 seasons as NFL starter. Through to the end of his career he will be flirting with a 90% winning percentage in the month of November. The Romo-Witten combination is a QB-TE combo for the ages. His comebacks and highlight plays amount to enough material to fill a DVD-set, with extras. Romo will earn 106 million dollars over a 6-year period. What’s not to like? The kid (well 33 isn’t that old) has the world lying at his feet. Right? How can the above describe anything else than a hero?  

Well, on the other hand there is the listless, bumbling Romo: No rings, no play-off wins, no awards. 91 INT’s to counter his 177 TD’s. 50 fumbles of which 22 were lost. No rings. A non-dramatic but underachieving month of December. His joints which are seemingly held together by duct tape. No rings. His infuriatingly lethargic interviews after heart-breaking losses. And did I mention: no rings.

Sure it’s not all to blame on Romo. There are many factors which contribute to losses and seasons ending after regulation: there’s coaches, the elements, dropped passes, red-hot corners who need interceptions to boost the dollar figure in their free agent contract negotiations, …, the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, the well-meaning friar, Prince Escalus, … the stars and the universe.

So what are Cowboys fans left to do? Seek guidance from the stars? Exchange the salvation army sign in Cowboys Stadium for Fox Mulder’s ‘I want to believe’-poster? Sit through the next season as one would sit through a play? Wanting to believe that this time Romeo and Juliet will live happily ever after? That the tragic hero will be saved from committing suicide; suicide by throwing an interception after the 2 minute warning in game 16 of regulation, trailing by 6 points to a Patriot team led Tim Tebow after Brady left injured at half time?

The tragic hero shows flashes of brilliance and flashes of angst. His self-destruction almost as inevitable as a happy ending is heart-breakingly close by. Still I have one thing for Cowboys fans to mull over when October goes into November and November into December.

Would the Cowboys have been better off with Buffalo’s Fitzpatrick or USC’s Matt Barkley or even Cam Newton? If Romeo got slain within the very first act, there would be no play. Remember, in order to be a tragic hero one first has to be a hero.

– The Journeyman