Finger-Pointing at the Finger-Pointers

The Cowboys' "leaders'' are so upset about the team's penchant for finger-pointing that two of them went on local TV on Sunday night to finger-point about the finger-pointing.

No, they still don't get it.

I can dismiss safety Roy Williams' visit with Newy Scruggs on NBC5; Roy has rendered himself largely insignificant around here. Expect me to write about him again only after I've called Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati to ask if the Bengals would like to trade for him.

But quarterback Tony Romo? He is the franchise. He is the poster boy. He is the quarterback. And he remains significant.

Tony also, unfortunately, comes across as ill-prepared for the job as spokesman for America's Team.

Romo did an on-camera sitdown interview with CBS11's Babe Laufenberg. Babe and Romo have a friendship of sorts, so I was hardly expecting a "60 Minutes'' grilling.

But I was expecting Tony Romo to demonstrate that in some way, he and the team had paid a visit to Jerry Jones' "woodshed.''

No such luck.

Item-by-item, here's what I gathered from Romo's ramblings:

*He doesn't seem to understand the concept of "leadership,'' dismissing outsiders' concerns about it as "kinda dumb.''

Meaning, the leadership issue is a non-issue?

"A great leader is someone that wins,'' Romo said. "What, you want me to yell at everybody and then all of the sudden we're going to win?''

No, young man. Troy Aikman "yelled'' less often than most people believe. He "led'' with unselfishness. He "led'' by running stadium steps. He led by being extremely careful talking with media people he did not trust. He "led'' by keeping a lid on his personal life. Leadership can be all those things.

When Tony Romo last went to Nashville, he was there holding Carrie Underwood's purse.

At least twice, when Troy Aikman went to Nashville back in 1995, his date was Kevin Gogan.

*Tony even suggested that Michael Jordan is known as a leader only as a result of having six NBA titles. A chicken-or-the-egg sort of thing.

This all is a twisted version of my "There-are-32-ways-to-skin-an-NFL-cat'' theory. Very twisted. Tony, MJ's image as a leader was enhanced by the titles. But his reality as a leader, as an alpha male, as the centerpiece of the room, was something that existed no matter what. Maybe from birth. And it still exists today.

*Tony fell into a T.O.-related trap – more evidence that he's simply not polished enough for some of the public demands of the job. Babe asked him a question he had to know what coming: Do you want Terrell Owens back?

*"I think,'' Romo non-answered, "everybody on our team wants everybody back.''

What does that mean, besides nothing? That answer simply feeds into more questions and more doubt and more finger-pointing?

*He promised an overall tougher and better Cowboys team in 2009: "We're going to have a different mindset,'' said Tony, and the comment just sounded so. … empty.

A "different mindset'' would mean, just maybe, fewer of the same old TV interviews promising things will be different.

*In an absolutely maddening hint at ongoing immaturity, he talked of handling criticism through the prism of his girlfriend.

"I date someone,'' he said, "who gets ridiculed pretty often as well.''

To me, this is the psychological clincher, the tip-off that in some ways we are dealing with children here. How high-schoolish is that? It was one thing for Jessica Simpson to show up to games in her pink No. 9 jersey; the cheerleader expressing her love for the quarterback is, however juvenile, an American tradition. But at least she's on the sideline.

The quarterback using his girlfriend and her job as a lesson in how to endure the spotlight?

It's cute. … in a "puppy-love'' sort of way.

On the plus side, he seemed to have dumped that too-cool-for-school "Life-is-Beautiful'' apathetic approach. "If I'm lucky enough to win one or two Super Bowls I've had a good career,'' he said, which beats the heck outta "Whatev.'' Maybe giving the interview is a sign that he cares? (Or maybe he and Babe were on the way to the golf course. I don't know.) He said the right thing about Wade Phillips' retention. "I think bringing Wade back was a great call,'' Tony said, as he should have. And, thank God, he dumped the backwards-cap look, which has morphed from a fashion accident into a symbol for how lacking in gravitas Tony Romo just might be.

OK, one snippet from Williams' interview just down the TV control:

"We have a whole bunch of 'me's' right now and it's not enough 'us,''' Roy told Newy. "We have too much going on as far as the bickering and complaining. We do so much talking. …''

So much talking about not talking. So much finger-pointing about not finger-pointing.

People say this is "a kid's game.'' But it's a man's world. And it's time for Tony Romo and some of these ‘Boys to grow up.

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