CHIP DIP #1 ... Dallas Cowboys' QB Tony Romo, who turns 37 on April 21, is moving on from football to the broadcast booth, according to the news broken by ESPN's Todd Archer and Adam Schefter.
The storyline no one will talk about is how two former Longhorns inadvertently helped drive Romo into retirement.
Then-Redskins' LB Keenan Robinson kneed Romo in the back, causing two transverse process fractures (in Romo's lower back) in 2014, an injury that would linger through the final three years of his career.
And a sack by Eagles' LB Jordan Hicks in Game 2 of the 2015 season broke Romo's left collarbone, sidelining Romo the next seven games - until Week 11 of a 4-8 season. The following week of that 2015 season, Romo would re-break his left collarbone in a loss to Carolina.
CHIP DIP #2 ... So what is Romo's legacy?
There were some high highs:
- Helping lead the Cowboys to the playoffs after taking over as QB midway through 2006 season
- The 13-3 regular season in 2007 under Wade Phillips
- The wild card playoff win over the Eagles in 2009 - ending 13 years without a playoff win
- The 12-4 season in 2014 and wild card win over Detroit
There were some low lows:
- The dropped FG snap vs the Seahawks in the 2006 playoffs
- The INT late in the playoff loss to the Giants after that 13-3 season in 2007
- Winner-goes-to-the-playoffs season finale losses in 2011 (at the Giants), in 2012 (at the Redskins and RGIII) and in 2013 (home vs the Eagles with Romo missing the game because of a back injury).
I think Romo's legacy is on par or just ahead of former Cowboys' QB Danny White - without White's playoff success (three NFC championship games) - but obviously nowhere near Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
You tell me what Romo's legacy is ...
CHIP DIP #3 ... Tony Romo pocketed $127 million as a Cowboy.
And it might not seem like it now, but Romo is one of the great underdog, success stories in recent NFL history considering he went on to a 14-year career after signing with Dallas in 2003 as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois for a $10,000 signing bonus.
I was covering the Cowboys in 2003 for The Dallas Morning News when Romo arrived.
Then-offensive coordinator Sean Payton, also an Eastern Illinois guy, convinced then-coach Bill Parcells to keep Romo on the roster as a backup QB as Parcells trotted out Quincy Carter in 2003; then veteran Vinny Testervede (15 starts) and Drew Henson (1 start) in 2004 (after failed drug tests caused Dallas to release Carter).
Carter's release in August before the 2004 season was a huge tipping point for Romo, who would've been released if Carter hadn't bombed out of the league.
And then Parcells brought in Drew Bledsoe who started the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Finally, in both of their fourth years with the Cowboys, Parcells went with Romo at QB in October of 2006, and Romo started the last 10 games, going 6-4 with 19 TDs and 13 INTs while helping the Cowboys finish 10-6 and earn a playoff berth vs Seattle.
You gotta give credit to Romo for finally making the most of his opportunity with a head coach (Parcells) who thought Romo was a "celebrity quarterback" and was in no hurry to play him.
CHIP DIP #4 ... The Romo retirement news affects the Houston Texans as much as any other NFL team, because the Texans were considered a - if not THE - favorite to land Romo if he reached the free-agent market.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle told us on AM 1300 The Zone today that Texans' owner Bob McNair won't consider Colin Kaepernick because of the national anthem stance Kaepernick took last season nor would he consider bringing in Jay Cutler.
McClain said the Texans - even if they'd signed Romo - still would've used a high draft pick this year on a QB. So McClain thinks the Texans will go into the season with Tom Savage as their starting QB with Brandon Weeden as the backup and QB draft pick as the No. 3 QB.
CHIP DIP #5 ... Tony Romo going into broadcasting is the best-case scenario for Jerry Jones, because - even though he has Dak Prescott - Jerrah didn't want his beloved Romo playing for someone else. Or even worse - Romo helping another team get to the Super Bowl (especially the TEXANS!)
Already there is a report (from former LHN reporter-now-NFL Network reporter Jane Slater) Romo would consider coming out of the broadcast booth if the Cowboys REALLY needed him (i.e. if Dak Prescott suffered a serious/season-ending injury).
CHIP DIP #6 ... So with the Cowboys now thinking they're a Super Bowl contender but needing to patch up a patchy defense, Dallas will now have to pay (in cap repercussions) for the ridiculous, six-year, $108 million contract with a $25 million signing bonus and $55 million guaranteed given to Romo in early April 2013 when he was about to turn 33.
Dallas will have to eat $10.7 million in cap space this year and $8.9 million in cap space in 2018 - money that might've been used to help land a free agent difference maker or two on defense.
At the time the contract was announced, I called it the worst contract in the history of sports, because you don't commit that much guaranteed money to a player in his 30s.
In the 2013 season, Romo would go on to suffer a ruptured disk in his back that caused him to miss Dallas' winner-take-all season finale for a playoff berth in a home game against Philly (which Dallas lost with Kyle Orton at QB vs Eagles' QB Nick Foles of Westlake).
Romo would suffer two transverse process fractures in his back late in 2014 (from Keenan Robinson) and a shattered collarbone in 2015 (from Jordan Hicks).
So, for the $55 million in guaranteed money, the Cowboys basically got a thrilling 12-4 season in 2014 in which Romo threw for 34 touchdowns with 9 INTs as the Cowboys beat Detroit in a wild card playoff game and then lost at Green Bay in the Dez Bryant did-he-catch-it-or-didn't-he? divisional playoff game.
CHIP DIP #7 ... For years, I've said if the Cowboys drafted QBs the way they drafted tight ends, they would've found the heir apparent to Romo by April of 2013 and wouldn't have felt compelled to give Romo that ridiculous contract.
Consider the following:
From 2004 to 2013, the Cowboys drafted six tight ends - Sean Ryan (2004), Anthony Fasano (2006), Martellus Bennett (2008), John Phillips (2009), James Hanna (2012) and Gavin Escobar (2013). Dallas would go on to draft Longhorn TE Geoff Swaim in 2015 and Baylor power forward/TE Rico Gathers in 2016.
Meanwhile, in the same span, the Cowboys drafted just two QBs - Isaiah Stanback of Washington (4th rd in 2007) and Stephen McGee of A&M (3rd rd in 2009).
Talk about irresponsible management of the QB position.
CHIP DIP #8 ... Doesn't it seem like the Cowboys started making really good personnel decisions RIGHT AFTER Jerry Jones gave Romo the $108 million deal?
Romo got that contract extension in early April 2013 - and I have this vision of Jerrah negotiating that deal on his own, and then Stephen Jones finding out about it after the fact and grabbing the team checkbook out of Jerrah's hands and yelling, "Never again Jerrah!"
It was the 2013 draft - just a few weeks after the Romo deal - when Dallas got roasted for trading down and taking Travis Frederick in the second round, now the Pro Bowl center on the NFL's best O-line.
In the 2014 draft, Dallas ignored Jerrah's desire to draft Johnny Manziel and grabbed future Pro Bowl OL Zack Martin, DE Demarcus Lawrence and LB Anthony Hitchens.
In 2015, Dallas took Byron Jones, gambled on Randy Gregory and now - with Doug Free retiring - needs to be proven a prophet for taking OT Chaz Green of Florida in the third round.
Last year, the Cowboys hit the lottery with RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott (even though the Cowboys tried to move up to get QB Paxton Lynch) and still could collect more lottery winnings if Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith returns to the field this season. (DB Anthony Brown looks like a player, and DT Maliek Collins and DE Charles Tapper need to become players.)
Whatever happened after coo-coo-for-Cocoa-Puffs Romo deal, thank you Stephen Jones.
CHIP DIP #9 ... How do we think Tony Romo is going to be in the booth?
My immediate hunch is ... not very good.
He's very laid back and always seems to dance around hard opinions in favor of the politically correct.
Hope I'm wrong.
Maybe that was just life in the glare of being the Cowboys' QB and he'll cut loose now.
CHIP DIP #10 ... OK, I promise Cowboys' fans to ease up on my contention that Romo's best accomplishments during his 14-year career in Dallas were Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson.
And then Romo marries a former Miss Missouri in Candice Crawford ...
Well done Romo ... you've brought integrity to "the quarterback gets the girl."