A beautiful brown bookshelf appears as the camera turns on while a familiar voice speaks in the background, one that has emerged as the lead singer for the soundtrack on Sundays in the fall. Tony Romo’s voice is distinct even if the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is not yet pictured. An off-camera Romo is grabbing a charger before we start our exclusive interview, and the broadcaster’s excitement on an otherwise ordinary Monday makes me feel like Jim Nance, at least for a few minutes.
The face eventually matches the voice as Romo emerges wearing a black long-sleeved shirt, taking a break from dad duty during a rare snow day to discuss everything from Dak Prescott’s future in Dallas to his partnership with Michelob Ultra. Romo’s career trajectory, both as a quarterback and now broadcaster, is reminiscent of Bruce Wayne’s sobering words in “The Dark Knight.” A somber Batman admits, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
His transition to being in the CBS broadcast booth was met with widespread praise as the former quarterback’s gift for clairvoyance prompted plenty of “Another One” DJ Khaled memes as Romo predicted play after play before they happened. Now, some restless fans have turned Romo into a meme of his own criticizing the same excitement the former star was once commended for every Sunday.
Romo is all too familiar with the fickleness of sports fans experiencing the same character arc as a broadcaster that he did while wearing a star on his helmet. History repeats itself as Batman could easily be talking about Romo, Prescott or his own tenure in Gotham. Prescott experienced this same flip from faith to criticism this past season with two interceptions during the Cowboys’ elimination loss to the 49ers serving as an underwhelming crescendo.
No person knows the pressure of being the Cowboys quarterback quite like Romo, and the legendary signal-caller is cautioning people from hitting the panic button on Prescott. Romo cannot help but be shaped by his own experience, and why the quarterback attempts to defend Prescott when asked about his future. The former Cowboys star believes Dallas was one of six teams that could have made the Super Bowl, even if the scoreboard says otherwise.
“The expectations for the Cowboys really was to get to the next level, right? It was to get to the championship game,” Romo admitted during an exclusive January 30 interview with Heavy Sports. “You saw, what was it, seven [Dallas] coaches who were let go? I think that’s a byproduct of losing to San Francisco.
“If they win that game, everyone’s back, probably. And so, that’s the real world. That’s why these games are so huge, and why I want to communicate that on TV. This is life-changing for a lot of people. Legacy defining in some ways. You’re never guaranteed to be back.
“At the same time, I’m like, they have been knocking on the door, and I know people viewed that as a negative. You know [the saying], kick the door in. But they were one of six teams this year that could have won the Super Bowl, I really felt. Most years, there is not even close to that many teams who can win it. You have the final four who was correct I thought. Then you could have interchanged someone with Buffalo and Dallas. I thought all those teams [could win the Super Bowl].”
Tony Romo on Kellen Moore’s Departure From Cowboys: ‘It’s a Win-Win for Both of Them’
Romo is among those surprised by Dallas’ decision to move on from Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator, but the CBS broadcaster labeled the move as a “win-win” for both parties. Romo noted that an NFL franchise never wants to feel “stuck in something” and called it an “opportunity” for the Cowboys to have a fresh start heading into next season.
“For Kellen and the Cowboys, it’s like a win-win for both of them,” Romo remarked. “I think Kellen was a fantastic coordinator. I think he did a great job. I mean, he spearheaded some of the best offenses in the National Football League, under his control. At the same time, you never want to be stuck in something that doesn’t feel like we’re going to be able to take that [next step], so you gotta do something. I didn’t necessarily think it would be him but now you have an opportunity.”
Romo on Lack of a Super Bowl: ‘I’ve Had Plenty of Sleepless Nights … Times of Disappointment’
Towards the end of the interview, Romo turned reflective when asked about owner Jerry Jones’ insistence that one of his biggest regrets is not being able to win a Super Bowl while the former signal-caller was in Dallas. Romo admitted he has had “plenty of sleepless nights” over not bringing another Lombardi Trophy to Big D. The wound feels as fresh as it did when Romo was still throwing passes as evidenced by the longtime quarterback speaking in present tense when discussing his career.
“My job is to go deliver a championship to the fans, the organization and the Jones family and all my teammates and everyone and help them in that process,” Romo said candidly. “That’s one of the biggest things that will sit with me the rest of my life, that I wasn’t able to do it [win a Super Bowl]. That’s going to sting. That’s never going to go away. That’s there forever.
“I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights or thoughts and times of just disappointment of knowing that I wasn’t able to accomplish that. For a competitor, that’s always going to be difficult. At the same time, I’m also very fortunate. I have been very lucky in this life just with what the Lord has given me in so many different ways.”
Romo has been able to seamlessly transition from an NFL career to a becoming a media mogul whose success reset the broadcast market. The former Pro Bowler’s other passion is golf, and Romo is partnering with Michelob Ultra to playfully show his love for being on the greens. Romo is one of several stars featured in the brand’s “New Members Day” Super Bowl commercial.
The longtime Cowboys star is also joining Michelob Ultra’s partnership with the new Netflix docu-series “Full Swing” as Romo is featured in the additional spot ahead of the February 15 release. Fans can sign up to get an early look at episode one of the show with the series giving a historic behind-the-scenes look at pro golfers during a full season on the PGA Tour.
“We’re going to do a golf spot and two commercials with that,” Romo explained. “It’s like ‘Caddyshack’ which I love and I read it and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, home run. No question, I’m in.’ And so, ever since then it’s just been fantastic and the spots turned out really well I believe.”
The Cowboys Would Be Wise to Follow the Eagles’ Pathway to the Super Bowl
To quote Prescott himself, there is no “sugarcoating” that the $160 million quarterback needs to be better if Dallas has any chance to reach their Super Bowl aspirations. Yet, the Cowboys front office also must improve if the team is to become a contender for 2023.
Dallas’ gamble of trading away Amari Cooper failed as the team prioritized re-signing Michael Gallup and turning to free-agent wideout James Washington. The veteran receiver was unable to catch a pass for the Cowboys prompting his release in January, while Jalen Tolbert made a minimal impact during his rookie season.
It is no coincidence that this was the backdrop for Prescott throwing a career-high 17 interceptions. Dallas needs to look no further than their own NFC East rivals in Philadelphia for a potential pathway this offseason for constructing a Super Bowl roster.
The once-maligned Jalen Hurts’ 2021 season ended eerily similar to how Prescott finished things in San Francisco with the Eagles quarterback throwing two interceptions to one touchdown as Philly was dominated by Tampa Bay in the Wild Card Round. The Eagles stuck with Hurts but got aggressive by making a blockbuster draft-day trade for star playmaker A.J. Brown.
Philadelphia made another bold move by signing Hassan Reddick to a $45 million contract, and the defender’s career-high 16 sacks earned him his first Pro Bowl nod during the Eagles’ run the Super Bowl. During the season, Philly doubled-down with whatever poker chips they had left by signing former Pro Bowlers Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, while the Cowboys publicly flirted with Odell Beckham Jr.
Romo on Short Championship Windows: ‘These Opportunities Are Precious’
As Romo looked back on the chapter of his life labeled “playing career,” the star offered a cautious warning to anyone who cares to listen. It serves as an alert to players, coaches and front office members alike. Championship opportunities are fleeting and a return to the playoffs is never guaranteed.
“These opportunities are precious, so that’s why [when] I do a game, it’s like there’s no guarantee that each of these guys are back here over and over again,’ Romo added. “It always feels that way, but other guys get better [and] improve.
“These are special, special teams and players right now, but that’s why it’s so big when you’re announcing the games. I know that feeling of what it is to the players to be able to work all season and play, that’s important.”