Person of Interest: Dallas’ Tony Romo
• Position: Supposed franchise QB, consummate collapser
• Height: 6-2
• Weight: 230
• Age: 34
• Experience: 12th season
He really is one of the league’s great underdog stories, a player who was undrafted out of Eastern Illinois and became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the history of one of the NFL’s most glamorous franchises.
Yet not only is Romo not among the league’s most popular quarterbacks, but he’s a player more celebrated for his failures than some truly remarkable accomplishments. Romo owns the single-season franchise record for passing yards (4,903) and touchdown passes (36). He has thrown more touchdown passes in his career than Troy Aikman and been intercepted fewer times than the Cowboys’ Hall of Famer, yet his most memorable moment remains the snap he bobbled on the field-goal attempt in a wild-card playoff loss in Seattle.
He is an unquestionably prolific quarterback who seems to play just well enough to throw his team to the brink of victory only to make the mistake that screws it all up. Like Sisyphus had his rock, Cowboys fans seem to have Romo.
The Cowboys entered this season bearing not all that much in the way of expectations. Romo was coming off back surgery and Dallas’ defense was hurt by an injury to linebacker Sean Lee before the season even started.
Yet here Dallas is at 4-1 with the league’s top running back in DeMarco Murray and a growing sense of optimism, and while Romo usually doesn’t fade until December, this seems like precisely the type of game in which he’d come out and lay an egg.
Seattle begins every game with one intention – stop the run. So far this season, the Seahawks have been the very best team in the league at doing just that.
If they’re able to stymie the Cowboys’ rushing offense, that will put pressure on Romo in both a literal and figurative sense. Literal in that he will be dropping back against a Seahawks pass rush fueled by the decibels of CenturyLink Field and hungry to improve on their total of six sacks through four games. But in a more figurative sense, Romo has shown the ability to do the heavy lifting for his offense.
“He can throw it for 400 on a day,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “The game is never over when he’s got a shot.”
Add him the list of potent passers Seattle has faced to begin this season, which started with the trio of Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning.
“He’s a little different,” Carroll said of Romo. “More mobile, and kind of more creative in his ways to find his receivers. So it’s a little different in that sense, but he’s big-time productive, can get it done and is as cool as a quarterback can play.”