The Dallas Morning News
Machota: Romo, fans express mutual love,
Retired Cowboys QB finds tribute at AAC ‘a little embarrassing’
The Dallas Mavericks honored Tony Romo on Tuesday night. He then used the opportunity to show appreciation to an arena filled with his fans.
The former Cowboys franchise quarterback didn’t play in the Mavericks’ home finale against the Denver Nuggets, but he took part in morning shoot-around, participated in pregame warmups and was introduced with the starting lineup.
“Thank you, guys,” Romo said to the American Airlines Center crowd before tip-off. “This is an honor that I would never dream of. It’s a little embarrassing. I’m a very lucky guy. Thank you, Dallas. I love you.”
Some of the biggest cheers of the night came as Romo made layups and sank a few 3s during pregame warmups. He didn’t come close to the 19of-21 shooting performance he predicted before the game, but Romo showed some athleticism as he went one-on-one against Dirk Nowitzki, Devin Harris and Nerlens Noel.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan sat together behind the Mavericks bench. Romo sat next to Mavs owner Mark Cuban near the end of the bench.
Former Cowboys teammates Jason Witten, Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and others were also in the building.
“I’m excited,” Romo said in a Tuesday morning news conference. “Just the fact that those guys want to come and support you. I think I’m going to get more street cred for being on the bench for the Mavericks than actually playing for the Cowboys.”
For one day, AAC had as many fans wearing Cowboys jerseys as Mavs jerseys. Mavericks No. 9 Romo T-shirts and jerseys were sold in the team store. They were sold out by the end of the first quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, fans started chanting, “We want Romo!” Near the end of the game, so many Romo chants led to Mavs players pushing him toward coach Rick Carlisle. Cuban quickly ran up and pulled Romo back. Fans then booed.
After morning shootaround, Romo told reporters that the support from his fans has been overwhelming. He called Tuesday’s experience something he felt like he didn’t deserve.
Since he was released by the Cowboys a week ago, Romo has participated in an hourlong conference call and multiple radio interviews.
But his final response before leaving the podium Tuesday morning might have been the best summary of his 10 seasons as the Cowboys starter. In mentioning his appreciation for his fans and the Mavericks, Romo spoke of how he wasn’t able to accomplish all of his NFL goals, making an obvious reference to falling short of winning a Super Bowl.
“I guess it just makes you feel that you accomplished something in some ways, because I feel like I left something out there that I always wanted to accomplish,” he said. “And I’ve got to live with that. That’s part of playing sports. It doesn’t always go the way you expect. You can put everything into it, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t mean you can be OK with it.
“This week has been special in the sense that people have made me feel that they appreciated me and that they enjoyed me playing and being their quarterback, and that it meant something to them and they wanted to root for me and they were passionate about it.
“I can’t say thank you enough. It really has been a very special week.”