Virtually everyone else in Dallas has weighed in on Tony vs. Dak by now, so Tuesday afternoon was finally Tony Romo's turn. Dak Prescott should keep his starting quarterback job for the Cowboys, Romo said.
Romo spoke to the media for the first time since injuring his back during a preseason game with the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 25. Rookie Prescott became the starting quarterback after Romo's injury. Under Prescott, the Cowboys have won eight of their first nine games and have the best record in the NFL. Romo is healthy again, but he said that doesn't mean it's time to mix things up.
"Football is a meritocracy. You aren't handed anything. You earn everything, every single day, over and over again — you have to prove it," Romo said. "That's the way of the NFL. That's the way football works. A great example of this is Dak Prescott and what he's done. He's earned the right to be our quarterback. As hard as that is for me to say, he has earned that right."
Romo took over the Cowboys' starting job from Drew Bledsoe during the 2006 season. In the 10 years since, he's become a confounding figure in Dallas, mixing superlative regular season performances with only two playoff wins in four appearances. Romo has never played in an NFC championship game, a streak that looks set to continue this year, despite the Cowboys having perhaps the most talented offense in the NFL.
"To say the first half of the season has been emotional would be a huge understatement," Romo said. "Getting hurt when you feel like you had the best team you ever had was a soul-crushing moment for me."
During his press conference, Romo expressed regret at having never won a championship for himself or Cowboys fans.
"Seasons are fleeting, games are precious and chances for success diminish," Romo, who spoke in second-person throughout, said. "And now your potential successor has arrived."
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Starting Sunday against the Ravens, Romo will be back in uniform for the Cowboys, but he'll suit up as Prescott's backup, stepping back into the understudy role he manned for his first four seasons. Romo said that he'll be there to give Prescott whatever help he needs down the stretch.
"I think Dak knows that I have his back," Romo said, "and I know that he has mine."
Romo's complete statement can be heard below: