I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. Just doesn’t feel right, ya know? Seeing Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in Mexico over the weekend playing grab-ass -- literally -- with Jessica Simpson puts a queasy in our stomachs and a bullseye on his jersey. Makes us want to jump in his beach cabana and steal a line -- OK, the line -- from Bud Light’s current commercial campaign.
What players do with their time off -- time they earned off with a 13-3 regular season -- is a complex question with no concrete answer. But jetting off to Mexico just seems so, well … Duuuuuude?!
This isn’t, of course, anything new for Romo. After his very busy off-season playing golf and judging beauty pageants and hopping on stage with metal bands, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett took time before training camp to tell Tony Romeo to take a chill pill. Down in San Antonio back in August Garrett told me Tony was told to “pick his spots” more wisely.
This latest jaunt is to a cool place with a hot chick. But the “spot”? Couldn’t be worse.
Again and again we hear how nobody works harder or prepares more thoroughly than the quarterback. Do we still believe that? Do his teammates still believe that? And, do his upcoming opponents believe it?
If you’re the New York Giants coming into Texas Stadium Sunday for a playoff game after two regular-season losses to Dallas, is there anything more heartening than seeing the quarterback that torched you for 592 yards and eight touchdown passes partying in Cancun rather than studying in Valley Ranch? Come to think of it, it’s probably also pretty encouraging to see Romo’s offensive coordinator (Jason Garrett) and offensive line coach (Tony Sparano) spending time interviewing for other jobs.
Distractions, real or imagined, are in place. ‘Boys will be boys.
The fact that tight end Jason Witten also went on the trip softens the blow. But then again, Witten took his wife so -- yawn -- we know he didn’t stay up late having sex on the beach. As for Romo? Again, there are aspects that don’t just feel right. How about the top five:
1. Imagine what it feels like to be one of Romo’s teammates, up early on Saturday in the Valley Ranch weight room only to look up on the TV and see your quarterback sipping Mai Tais in Mexico. I might be wrong, but won’t the beach still be there after the season?
2 This city embraced Romo partly because he was one of us -- an average guy who didn’t get offered a big-time scholarship or didn’t get drafted but ascended to the quarterback of America’s Team on hard work and humility. An underdog, if you will. But now, he’s one of them. He’s forgotten his roots, crumpled up his “aw shucks” story and traded it all in to be an A-lister. No longer the up-and-comer throwing 1,000 balls a day into a net at Valley Ranch, he’s now the see-and-be-scener playing catch with his flavor of the month. Maybe we don’t feel betrayed, but perhaps deceived?
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3. During a ho-hum December in which Dallas went 2-2, Romo threw five interceptions and only one touchdown the last three games and injured his hand. Apparently Jessica thinks the best therapy is to allow Tony to stick his thumb in cider.
4. Montezuma’s Revenge.
5. Of the eight remaining quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs, only one doesn’t have a post-season victory: Tony Romo.
Dude. --Richie Whitt