Not too often do we see players put the team ahead of their own ambitions, especially in professional sports.
Egos, money, fancy cars and supermodel girlfriends cloud the mind, creating a cancer of sorts that players succumb to while in their career. These distractions affect their mentality and they tend to underperform and become disappointments no one was hoping for on draft day.
While my allegiances remain to the Bay Area for professional sports, it was refreshing to see someone in the NFL acknowledge that his efforts to getting back to the field should not headline the team’s season. Instead, Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo, who’s been out since the preseason, came out this week conceding that this is Dak Prescott’s offense to lead. He asked for a second chance to win his job back but ultimately, what mattered was the best interests for Dallas.
“If you think for a second that I don’t want to be out there, then you’ve probably never felt the pure ecstasy of competing and winning,” Romo told the media this week. “That hasn’t left me. In fact, it may burn more now than ever.”
Instead of pouting and debating whether his professional career might be over, Romo’s been on the sidelines with a headset on, encouraging the rookie quarterback. Romo’s been a team player and while people argue about his inability to perform in the clutch in the playoffs, no one can doubt his leadership qualities.
“He’s very bright. And so when he came out and said it, in the end, I don’t think it took him long to figure that wouldn’t be a great thing for the team,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the media. “We’ve got a good thing, and no one wants Dak looking over his shoulder.”
He’s itching to get back onto the field and lead the Cowboys. This has been Romo’s team for the last decade but injuries have gotten in the way, leading Dallas to find backup options. But with the Cowboys owning the best record in the NFL as Week 11 is here, Prescott has proven luck isn’t the reason.
Philadelphia and Minnesota started off strong but have come back to reality. Only Dallas has been able to rise to the challenge and succeed. The Cowboys are in position for home-field advantage as the season begins its second-half descent. Dallas – not Carolina, New England, Green Bay or Seattle – is the best team in the league. And it’s because of Prescott leading the offense.
Would the Cowboys still be in this situation had Romo not been hurt during a preseason game in August? It’s hard to say.
But what’s impressive, considering the other direction Romo could have gone in wanting to leave Dallas or seriously compete to be the No. 1 quarterback, is his demonstrative leadership. He’s not barking out audibles at the line or throwing touchdown passes to Dez Bryant.
No, Romo’s guiding the new quarterback, providing him with the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed in the NFL. Even Brett Favre couldn’t concede this peacefully when he was force to hand the keys of the Packers to Aaron Rodgers. And Favre’s now in the Hall of Fame.
It may be the Cowboys’ decision to go – and stick – with Prescott as their quarterback for the season. But it’s Romo’s unselfish attitude and willingness to put the team first that has Dallas in the driver’s seat of the NFL.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.