MIAMI - Two nights before the Cowboys' game at Miami, Tony Romo celebrated his return to the field with dinner with Cowboys buddies featuring a jokey cake that referenced a cocky brag from the movie "Major League."
Two hours after the 24-14 victory that ends Dallas' seven-game losing streak and makes this season appear salvageable, Romo was on the team plane, a mini-boombox in one hand and a fat, unlit victory cigar in the other.
And what happened in between? The Cowboys are allowing themselves to believe it was a little bit magical ... Romodini.
"Nothing against Brandon and Matt," Dez Bryant said of bus drivers Weeden and Cassel, "but we all know who our leader is."
Man, how good it was for Cowboys Nation to see Tony Romo back on the field!
Was he a bit rusty? Sure. That's to be expected. However, there is no denying that this is a completely different football team when No. 9 is under center. Even when Romo threw his two interceptions, the Cowboys themselves seem unworried.
Said coach Jason Garrett of his QB, who issued a speech to his team at their Fort Lauderdale hotel on Saturday night: "Poise. Leadership. Execution. ... I think the guys feed off that."
Indeed, Romo - coming off a 2014 season that ranks among the greatest in NFL history - brings a whole 'nother level of experience and confidence to the entire team ... and the way he breaks down defenses before each play is a thing of art.
Nursemaid Romo did have lots of help. Terrance Williams and Dez each caught TD passes. (Dez' was his 50th from Romo - a franchise team-up record.) “I think anytime you’re mentioned with Aikman and Irvin, it’s a special deal,” Romo said of the legendary pitch-catch tandem with 49 TDs. “We’re lucky just to be in that breath than anything."
Tight ends Jason Witten (now Mr. Cowboy right there with Bob Lilly) and Gavin Escobar made contributions, as did runners Darren McFadden and newcomer Robert Turbin. And enigmatic defenders Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain (an interception return for a score) did their things.
But this was Romo's show because now that his collarbone is healed, this is Romo's team. ... ugliness and semi-contention (in an NFC East nobody seems worthy of winning) and all.
He's got his work cut out for him to get this team back on track but this win was a big step in the right direction. ... And that direction is "aura"-driven.
It's how you can eat cake that reads, "Let's bleeping win the whole thing" ... How you can chew on a victory cigar that says you've started that climb ... and how you can think even a Thanksgiving visit from undefeated Carolina won't stop you from doing it again.
"They're tough, and (QB) Cam is doing his thing," Dez said. "We're gonna need to have laser focus. And I think we will."