Romo: Some 'Late Night' Laughs?

The last time we saw Tony Romo, he was sitting on a football field, crying. The next time we'll see Tony Romo, he'll be sitting on David Letterman's couch, laughing.

It has become a sports-and-entertainment tradition: The goof who commits the gaffe appears on late-night television to plead guilty, offer his apologies, and demonstrate that he doesn't take himself too seriously. So after Hugh Grant strays from Elizabeth Hurley with some street 'ho, he pops onto Leno. And after Michael Richards spews racist barbs, he pops onto Letterman.

And after Romo barfs up a field-goal snap that cost his Cowboys a playoff win in Seattle, he subjects himself to late-night laffs!

Hey, we eventually let Letterman and Leno do jokes about O.J. and 9/11; they should certainly be allowed to kid about a collapse in a football game, right? Right? Anybody. ... right?

From what hears, Romo -- who did, after all, perform at an elite level as a come-from-nowhere QB folk hero -- is adjusting nicely to life in the spotlight by. ... taking a week's respite from said spotlight. So before he has to deal again with all the angles of his rags-to-riches season, "The Next Staubach'' is fielding pep-talk phone calls from the original Staubach. And is hanging loose in a ski resort in Colorado. And is sipping hot chocolate from his very own Swiss Miss, pop-tart Carrie Underwood.

And is getting ready to jump on the interview circuit.

More than a decade ago, when Leon Lett committed his own high-profile Cowboys screwup on Thanksgiving Day, some of us in the media urged him to speak immediately about the error. We tried to tell him (with only a modicum of self-interest) that it would be theraputic to explain why he tried to recover a loose ball after a blocked field-goal try, and that not addressing it would only cause him to be further haunted by it.

Leon didn't address it. Instead, he went on to commit another crazy error in a Super Bowl, fumbling as he was running for a TD. And at a Super Bowl Media Day, he was so stressed by the presence of reporters that he burst into tears and sprinted off the stage.

Psychologically speaking, it's better to face the fear than to run from it -- especially when the fear involves a 6-7, 290-pound man and his frightening nemesis, a collection of pencil-necked geek reporters.

Romo and his handlers (yes, just like T.O., Romo has "handlers'') understand this. So watch for the Cowboys quarterback to begin popping up on TV. During this weekend's conference championship games. As a celebrity commentator on the Super Bowl. And quite likely, The Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman likes to toss the football around himself, and in fact, a year ago, played pigskin grab-ass with another infamous footballer you might remember: fella named Mike Vanderjagt, who had missed a key final FG for the Colts.

Vanderjagt laughed off his miss, allowing himself to be the butt of Letterman's jibes, and then took to the streets of Manhattan, where he and Letterman corrected the error by arranging for the soon-to-be-Cowboy to correctly perform his special-team role.

Prediction: The Late Show will once again take to the streets. Some random celeb guest will be the long-snapper. (I'm guessing Rosie O'Donnell.) Letterman will be the kicker. Romo will be the holder. Tony will correctly perform his special-team role.

And the healing will begin.

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