Without asking, it's assumed Randy's comments pertain to the field of play only. Controlling the field of play is one thing, individually shelving all other team storylines is completely another. Talk about your total package. Tony Romo has become a savior in more ways than one.
His first order of business was restoring the Dallas Cowboys to contender status. While the supporting cast has been complimentary, Romo has single handedly infused the organization with giddy euphoria. Prior to entering the Giants Monday night game, this team was mired in mediocrity and yo yo-like averageness. Jerry Jones predicted a pending dark cloud with the quarterback change. With weather predictions like this, no wonder North Texas is still water deficient. If you haven't been to Texas Stadium the last two games, you need to get yourselves reservations. The place is simply electric. It's been a venue of exuberance and building confidence. Bring on those Saints.
His responses are always surly and curt, but do you think The Tuna would rather field questions about tweaked hamstrings, bicycle outfits, assumed overdoses, sleeping in meetings and general disgruntlement with play calling or a substitute quarterback potentially making a Pro Bowl appearance? Exactly! Terrell Owens, who? Parcells doesn't release any commentary without New Jersey indifference, but even he has to be most elated the topic of talk has turned from soap opera to story book. The four year grooming process has paid enormous dividends, and in a pronouncement which almost never happens, Parcells has shared, "We could be in this thing for a while." Now, what Cowboys' fan didn't want to hear that?
Apparently, Owens was observed giving Tony Romo's locker room name plate a little love tap following the Thanksgiving contest. A local reporter had asked why all the Terrell Owens' chatter had suddenly faded into oblivion? Owens simply righted himself from the dressing stool, walked to Romo's locker and delivered the "so nice to have you in the mix, Tony" pat on the quarterback's name plate. Tony Romo has effectively made #81 just one of the guys. Ponder the magnitude of that feat, and who in their right mind thought that a possibility? Especially in this "look at me" world. My, how things have changed. Has it really only been 4 weeks? Wasn't the Owens Oxnard cycle fest about 5 years ago? Winning does serve as a masking agent for all things askew.
Speaking of fixing ailments, when was the last we heard anything about an offensive line miscue? It seemed as if Bledsoe had these guys routinely in the newspapers and being called out by stadium public address announcers. One is left to ponder how many of those previous flag-producing holding calls were the product of the football-patting Drew Bledsoe as he waited for receivers to come clean? If an offensive lineman has to account for his defensive opponent much after reaching "15 Mississippi," yellow laundry is bound to make an unwelcome appearance. Thus, a quick release, nimble feet and a charisma larger than life are all cures for an offensive line in need of confidence and consistency.
Speaking of confidence and rethinking things, how many times has Parcells retired and unretired himself this year? The goal line interception in Philly was probably the first or second major thought about hanging up the whistle. However, the Sam Madison pick prior to halftime in the Giants game had to have Parcells contemplating triggering 401K disbursements and spending life at Saratoga Springs. With Romo gaining more confidence and experience as the season progresses, Parcells is back to thinking legacy fortification. Thoughts of hoisting a third Lombardi Trophy has to have The Tuna thinking about re-upping in 2007. He's not likely to let someone else navigate his four year orchestration to a championship. A meaningful December will have him squarely back in the saddle for another Cowboys' ride. Not only is Tony Romo producing wins, he appears to own a Fountain of Youth distributorship, and Bill Parcells is drinking abundantly. Field general and Ponce de Leon all wrapped in one. Who knew?
It appears Parcells has had an inkling all along, but Tony Romo has always known. He operates and handles himself as if he's done it for years. Hopefully there were nice departing gifts for Sean Payton, and if not, the Metroplex needs to send a plethora of thank you and Christmas cards straight to New Orleans. It's highly unlikely Tony Romo would be anywhere near Texas without the Charleston, Illinois connection he and Payton share. He may have been on the Cowboys rookie free agent radar, but without Payton's personal knowledge, as he watched his own collegiate passing records fall to Romo, it may never have happened. Fate and alumni rings are beautiful things.
Of all things Tony Romo brings, he's still human. While it may not seem that way right now, all need to know it's coming, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. A back-to-earth grounding might not only be humbling but necessary. Call it a little dose of perspective. Is this calling for a December loss? Not at all. Just an understanding that a clunker or ugly showing is going to surface. In December, temperatures drop and so do point totals. Field position and time of possession become vital, and if maintained, potentially lethal to opponents.
The good news for the Cowboys is four of the five remaining contests have the potential of remaining element and precipitation free. This bodes well for the balanced attack to continue. The two biggest contests of the year may be the Giants squaring off with the Titans and Cowboys. If the Giants regain their health and winning ways, it's going to be a nose to nose run for the Division wire. Romo's rise to the occasion has been perfectly timed with Eli's pedestrian presence.
The 2005 and 2006 records at this juncture are identical, but hopefully that's where the similarities end. At least 2006 has a completely different feel to it. If the stars are to align for this version of the Cowboys, the December card table cannot collapse as in previous years. Parcells can earn the remainder of his non-Romo contributing salary by navigating a win-ladened holiday season.
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