Romo: Legacy de­pends on wins

Crowns de­ter­mine great­ness, QB says

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Stephen Hawkins

SAN AN­TO­NIO — Tony Romo fi­nally has a play­off vic­tory for the Dal­las Cow­boys to go with his three Pro Bowl se­lec­tions.

The for­mer un­drafted quar­ter­back is com­ing off an­other record-break­ing sea­son in which he also had a ca­reer-low nine in­ter­cep­tions while tak­ing ev­ery snap for the NFC East cham­pi­ons. He has a 38-17 record as a starter.

Cer­tainly bi­ased Wade Phillips al­ready con­sid­ers Romo an elite quar­ter­back — “I think Tony’s there,” the coach un­abashedly said at the start of train­ing camp.

Yet af­ter only 3½ sea­sons as a starter, Romo knows it will take a lot more than what he has done al­ready to be dis­cussed in such terms.

‘I love the tra­di­tion and the his­tory of the game. So for me, you set out to ac­com­plish cer­tain goals, and right at the top the only way to be in­cluded in any talk of any­thing is to go out and win a cham­pi­onship.’

tony romo

Con­tin­ued from C He ex­pects to be judged by wins, Su­per Bowls “and things of that na­ture.”

“I love the tra­di­tion and the his­tory of the game,” Romo said. “So for me, you set out to ac­com­plish cer­tain goals, and right at the top the only way to be in­cluded in any talk of any­thing is to go out and win a cham­pi­onship.”

Maybe this will be the sea­son Romo can add that to his glow­ing yet in­com­plete ré­sumé.

With 20 of 22 starters back from last year’s di­vi­sion win­ner that de­feated Philadel­phia in the play­offs, there are ex­pec­ta­tions that Dal­las could end a 15-year Su­per Bowl drought and be­come the first host team to play for the cham­pi­onship. The next Su­per Bowl is at Cow­boys Sta­dium in Fe­bru­ary.

Romo has even got­ten caught up in the ex­cite­ment, telling a crowd of more than 22,000 at the Alam­od­ome for a kick­off event the night be­fore train­ing camp be­gan, “We’ll see you at the Su­per Bowl in Dal­las.”

Pro Bowl tight end Ja­son Wit­ten, one of Romo’s best friends since they ar­rived as rook­ies to­gether in 2003, was caught a bit by sur­prise by Romo’s procla­ma­tion.

Not the sen­ti­ment, of course, but the fact he claimed it so pub­licly.

“He’s ex­cited. I think he’s con­fi­dent in where he’s at, and he’s con­fi­dent where ev­ery­body else is at and re­ally grab­bing ev­ery­body else and bring­ing them to the level he’s play­ing at,” Wit­ten said.

Romo, who turned 30 this off­sea­son, has al­ready shat­tered the team record by throw­ing for at least 300 yards in 24 games. He had eight last sea­son, when he also set new sin­gle-sea­son marks for com­ple­tions (347), at­tempts (550) and yards (4,483).

His ca­reer quar­ter­back rat­ing of 95.57 is more than 12 points higher than two-time Su­per Bowl cham­pion Roger Staubach, who is sec­ond on the Cow­boys list.

Asked what ar­eas of im­prove­ment made him the proud­est, Romo said “there’s 30 I could prob­a­bly run off.” Among those he men­tioned were his foot­work, an arm an­gle change, de­ci­sion-mak­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.

“With­out any spe­cific one, you’re not quite where you need to be. I’m still learn­ing in some ways,” Romo said. “But at a cer­tain point, stuff starts to catch up with it all and hope­fully you have a good mix of it and you’re con­sis­tent enough day in and day out to have a chance.”

Romo is def­i­nitely tak­ing bet­ter care of the foot­ball, with a ca­reer-low six fum­bles (four lost) last sea­son along with his fewest in­ter­cep­tions.

An­other huge fac­tor is continuity, since this will be the fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son in of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ja­son Gar­rett’s sys­tem. Romo also in­sists he has im­proved in the off­sea­son.

“That’s fun for me to go out and see if the stuff I’ve worked on is re­ally go­ing to work,” he said. “I fig­ure play­ing the game prob­a­bly won’t be quite as en­joy­able when I stop get­ting bet­ter than I was the year be­fore. That hasn’t hap­pened yet.”

Tony Gu­tier­rez

Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back Tony Romo, who is com­ing off his finest NFL sea­son, hands off to run­ning back Felix Jones dur­ing Mon­day af­ter­noon’s train­ing camp prac­tice ses­sion in San An­to­nio.

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