Romo: Here Comes The Judge!

IRVING, Texx -- "Judge not, that ye be not judged,'' is the Biblical verse (Matthew 7:1 for those of you scoring at home). But such guidelines don't necessarily apply in a world in which Cowboys QB Tony Romo is part of two depth charts: One includes Brad Johnson and Matt Baker.

The other includes Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan and Jude Law and Paris Hilton.

To say Romo's social life is a whirlwind right now would be a gross understatement; to paint a Hollywood analogy, he seems as preposterous and out of control as the wind-blown cow doing flyovers in the movie "Twister.''

But there he is, mentioned on E! and featured in gossip rags and pursued by paparazzi and carrying a purse for Carrie Underwood and maybe carrying a torch for Jessica Simpson and carrying the vote so Miss Japan can top the field in a controversial Miss Universe 2007 pageant. And just to throw a pinch of football into his life, there is former teammate Keyshawn Johnson, carrying a knife so as to plunge it into his old QB's back.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged''?

That doesn't work for Romo now that's he's moved to the sort of position usually reserved for the likes of David Hasselhoff and Simon Cowell, celebrity arbiter of whether or not another human is deserving of being a celebrity. There he was this week, Romo as a judge in the Miss Universe Contest, surrounded by a) Miss USA slipping onto her derriere, no doubt wishing she'd worn the duct tape under her shoes instead of under her breasts; b) Mexican natives booing everything American as a way of protesting our immigration issues; c) one contestant changing her clothes after somebody noticed that a dress depicting rebels being hung might hurt her chances of winning; and d) Miss Sweden withdrawing because she found the event "degrading.''

People, Tony Romo is judging a beauty contest! Of course it's degrading!

I'm going to continue to assume that none of this serves as a distraction to a centerpiece of the Cowboys, a guy management felt so comfortable with that Dallas passed on Brady Quinn. I'm going to continue to assume that this is no Tony Romoron, that he is as appreciative as always of his rags-to-riches backstory – and of how quickly a former undrafted free agent can undo everything and revert back to rags. I'm going to continue to assume that while Tony plays Romeo (dating Idol-singer Underwood, rumored to be the man-meat desire of pop-tart Simpson, getting goo-goo-eyed looks from women in swimsuits and from 600 million worldwide TV viewers) he is still the possessor of a competitive heart at least as big as his ears.

I also believe that Tony Romo's offseason habits are really no different than those of most other NFL quarterbacks, or of Cowboys who preceded him.

Present-day, Tom Brady functions as a one-man Beverly Hills sperm-donor clinic, the Giants' backup QB is married to the cute girl on "The View'' (no, not Rosie) and when a certain veteran superstar quarterback escapes the wife, he behaves like an entire fleet of sailors on shore leave. (No, I won't say who. Just trust me.)

And old Cowboys? Don Meredith was a Hollywood actor with a Playboy rep. Troy Aikman was in love with Lorrie Morgan. Rodney Peete married Holly Robinson. And who knows what sort of sensual shenanigans took place when the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders teamed up with the Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island? Romo's nocturnal habits, though, are magnified in this internet/blogosphere/camera-phone era. And magnified, even, by ex-teammates trying to get themselves some pub by riding on Romo's coattails.

Which takes us to Keyshawn Johnson.

Newly hired at ESPN (and I guess ABC, thus the suggestion that he might someday sub for Regis Philbin, or hell, maybe Key is the next Ted Koppell), Johnson is trying to make an early impression. So when somebody asked him to name the NFL's "most overhyped player,'' Key answered: "Tony Romo.''

"Tony Romo,'' Johnson said. "He's with the Dallas Cowboys. He's played five games. He's an overhyped deal.''

"Judge not, that ye be not judged.''

There are numerous flaws in Johnson's position. Like, um, facts. Romo, as you know (even if Keyshawn doesn't) actually has started 10 regular-season games. And played well enough to start a playoff game, and to play in a Pro Bowl.

Another flaw? Maybe Keyshawn should consider a bit more deeply the fraternal line he's crossing when criticizing, in a slap-dash manner, NFL players. Many ex-Cowboys, deeper thinkers than he, have discussed with me the thought behind their decisions to smoothly transition from player to broadcaster. Daryl Johnson and Darren Woodson are two of those people, and both are way ahead of the game (and in terms of quality work, way ahead of Keyshawn) because of it.

And another flaw: Maybe the only reason Tony Romo is a candidate to be the NFL's most overhyped player is because Keyshawn Johnson, having just "retired,'' is ineligible for the honor.

Keyshawn Johnson: The man who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 Draft, the man who in his first two NFL seasons despite only averaging 66 catches a year became a "superstar'' because he played in New York, the man who got kicked off a Super Bowl team, the man who wrote an empty autobiography after his rookie season. … he's calling somebody else "overhyped''?

"Judge not, that ye be not judged.''

Happily, the true assessment of Tony Romo doesn't come from the mouths of hypocrites who worship at the altar of their mirror or from the cameras of the leeches who giggle at the money they can make if they get a photo of Romo toting a starlet's purse.

The true assessment won't come on the red carpet, but on the green, green (fake) grass of home and away. At which point, hopefully, we can observe Tony Romo and stray from Biblical verse to instead lean on Flip Wilson and say, "Here come the Judge.''

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