Sep 162012
bobblehead tony romo

Don’t bobble this one, Tony

Tony Romo bobbled the snap on a potential chip-shot field goal that would have given his Cowboys the lead over the Seattle Seahawks. It was one unfortunate play in an otherwise solid performance—including his guiding the team down the field to set up the potential game-winning 19 yard field goal.

Tony Romo was the Cinderella story of 2006. An undrafted free agent, Romo came off the bench at halftime of the sixth game of the season to replace an ineffective Drew Bledsoe. Though the Cowboys would lose that game, Romo played well. Through six games, the Cowboys were 3–3. In the last ten games, with Romo at the helm, they finished 6–4 and qualified for the playoffs. Romo completed over 65% of his passes, throwing for over 2900 yards and 19 touchdowns in those ten games.

Then came the Seattle game and the seminal moment of Romo’s career. Romo had been promoted to starting quarterback, but everybody’s favorite New Jersey Football Genius Bill Parcells had not removed the field goal holding duties from him. That was a mistake. The normally sure-handed Romo mishandled the snap. Being the athlete that he is, he managed to scoop up the ball and came within a yard of scoring a touchdown.

One yard, one bobbled snap, one stunned fan base, one dumbfounded owner, one dumb genius of a coach. One crowning moment—that is, if you crown a court jester. Romo became the butt of jokes because of that snap. Romo became a choke artist because of that mistake. Romo was labeled a loser because of that loss.

Not by everyone. But by plenty. Even Cowboys fans continue to debate whether Romo is great, sucks or is just “meh.”

Does it still stick in Romo’s craw? Well, he was asked about it, of course…

“Shoot, it feels like I was 10 years old back then,” said Romo, who initially laughed when asked about the play in anticipation of his return to Seattle today for the first time since the bobble. “I think that’s just one of those situations where you took it as it was, a disappointing loss, which was very tough at the time. What you do is you get better.”

Romo has certainly managed the getting better part. With three Pro Bowl appearances in six years a QB rating over 100 for the past two seasons, he established himself as an elite quarterback in the NFL.

Today, Romo returns to Seattle. It is just another stop against just another so-so NFL team in a long season. But for Cowboys fans everywhere—and maybe, just maybe, in some small way, for the man himself—it is a place, and this is a time, for redemption. For revenge. For righting what went so terribly wrong six long years ago.