Tuesday night was a unique experience for DFW sports fans. Tony Romo, who was one of the most polarizing and decorated athletes in the history of Dallas sports, was honored as a Maverick for a day. He was introduced in the starting lineup before the game, and honored by the words Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki, giving the Dallas Cowboys ex QB a special kind of send off that perhaps no other professional athlete has experienced.
“It was fun.” Dirk said of his day with Romo. “He’s got a lot more game than I thought he would. He’s got a nice little shimmy and he was passing it a little bit. It was just a fun day. It’s good to honor him and the crowd was fired up for him, and he deserved it. I think he meant a lot for Dallas and for the sports scene here for a long, long time. He was great on and off the field, he did a lot of stuff here and I think he deserved it.”
It was a fitting tribute to the quarterback who guided the Cowboys to success for 0ver 10 years. As a passer, he rewrote the Dallas record books. And as a competitor and a person, he could not have represented the city better. No one can hope to summarize what Romo has done for the metroplex better than our man Jordan Ross over at Cowboys HQ did here, so I won’t try.
Despite that, and maybe thanks to this Fan Appreciation Night, fans will never forget what he did for their team and their city in his time as a Cowboy. A number of Cowboys people, including reps from the Jones family, coach Jason Garrett, star Ezekiel Elliott and the buffalo-herd of offensive linemen, were among the appreciative.
“I thought the reception for Tony – we’ve never had this many people here for warmups since I’ve been here nine years – that includes the Finals,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had this many people here at 7:15 for a 7:40 tip. It goes to show how everybody feels about Romo. I’m really happy for him. He really enjoyed being a part of this today. He through and through was appreciative and grateful. It was special having him here.”
Romo didn’t enter the game on Tuesday, and to be honest most of us knew, despite Mark Cuban’s antics towards the end of the game, that he wasn’t going to; he was never actually put onto the roster on this ceremonial day. (Read more about "Romo's Ultimate Fan Experience'' here.)
The 32-49 Mavs have a lotto race on the line; they fell to the Denver Nuggets 109-91 in their final home game on Tuesday night, marking the end to a tough season at home -- though a winning one, at 21-20. Nowitzki, who became a member of the 30,000-point club this past March, posted a solid final home performance for the 2016-17 campaign, scoring 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks in 27 minutes. ... and re-affirming that this is "exhibition time,'' Dirk did not make the trip to Memphis for tonight's Game 82. ... But is ready to roll again in 2017-18.
"I’m a little disappointed now,'' he said, "that the season is over and I feel the best I have all year, but that’s how it goes. Hopefully I have big summer, work out and stay ready, and next year not have a freak injury where I will be out even more and stay in good shape.”
That is Dirk's next move. The CBS TV booth is Romo's next move.
"It was a circus,'' a Mavs official told us late last night. "And circuses are awesome!''