Dallas Cowboys vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dehumanizing Tony Romo
America’s Team extended their reach beyond the United States to the United Kingdom on Sunday as the third and final game of the UK NFL Series took place between the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cowboys beat the Jaguars 31-17 in London, England at Wembley Stadium in a balanced offensive and defensive game.
Coming off two straight losses, the Cowboys (7-3) who once led the NFC East were desperate for a win heading into their bye this week. But, there were substantial questions about whether or not starting quarterback Tony Romo would be able to play in the game. Having witnessed what backup quarterback Brandon Weeden brought to the table as a starter last week (click for details) in a tough 28-17 loss against the Arizona Cardinals; the Cowboys organization knew they needed their leader Romo back taking the snaps. Romo summarized the situation perfectly after the game telling reporters,
“We had to win this game.”
Before jumping into the details of the matchup, a big congratulations to Nik Antonas and the fine folks at UKCowboysFans.com for their outstanding coverage of the Cowboys in the United Kingdom. I was glued to my social media and felt in the loop throughout the whole week because of their great work.
Back to the Cowboys vs. Jags; Tony started and played incredibly well throwing 20 completions on 27 attempts for 246 yards three touchdowns and a 138.8 rating. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant caught passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns as he and Romo looked completely in sync the entire game. Running back DeMarco Murray impressed recording his ninth 100 yard game for the year rushing for 100 yards on 19 carries. But Tony Romo stole the show and was fantastic while only missing one throw early in the first quarter on a would-be touchdown to his tight end Jason Witten.
It’s important to point out that Romo started Sunday with two small fractures in the transverse processes of his back. He suffered the injury in the 20-17 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins back on October 27th. What surprises me is the lack of attention Tony’s gutsy, playing-through-the-pain performance is getting in the media.
The last time I suffered a broken bone was roughly 2007 when I fractured both of my elbows in a nasty fall during a freak tennis accident…don’t ask. The pain was excruciating and I had both of my arms in slings with almost no mobility for over a month. Consider all the things you do with your arms and hands (almost everything), and you’ve got a pretty good picture of how completely helpless I was. God bless my sainted wife who nursed me to health and did, well, pretty much everything for me during my lowly stature…sorry honey.
Anyhow, my point is that a broken bone, any broken bone, is painful, debilitating, and puts the average human out of commission for a while. Not, however, Tony Romo the super-human. He rubbed some dirt on his broken back, entered the game, performed with excellence, and led his team to victory. Having completed this amazing feat, though, it’s almost as if some media and fans expected Tony to just gut it out and win.
I realize that Tony Romo is a highly paid professional and he puts himself in harms way on a regular basis, but not giving him due credit for playing through a broken back is, in my mind, dehumanizing him. Tony possesses physical gifts that the average person doesn’t have, but it’s insane to think he does not feel pain in the way all humans do just because he’s a special athlete.
What Tony did on Sunday was selfless, courageous, and something that if I’m honest with myself I would not have done. The result of the game was a win for the Dallas Cowboys, and in the grand scheme of things a single “w” in early November may not amount to anything at all. But, regardless of how the victory impacts the Cowboys season, or what people think about Tony Romo’s overall skills as a quarterback, good or bad, people must recognize Sunday as an amazing super-human performance by just another guy.
Follow Matt Thornton on Twitter: @MattsCowboys