April 21 1980|
San Diego, California, U.S.
|NFL Draft||2003 / Round: / Pick:|
|Career highlights and awards|
Antonio Ramiro "Tony" Romo (born on April 21, 1980 in San Diego, California) is a former American quarterback who spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He played College Football at Eastern Illinois.
Romo was born in San Diego, CA while his father was serving in the United States Navy. His family returned to its home in Burlington, Wisconsin when he was 2 years old. Playing quarterback for the Burlington Demons his junior and senior year of High School, he was unable to lead the team to a winning record, though he did make the All-Racine County football team. A heavy influence on his playing style was Brett Favre. Romo grew up a Packers fan, and during his High School years, Brett was leading Green Bay to a pair of Super Bowl appearances.
Romo played college football at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. As a sophomore in 2000, Romo ranked second in Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 164 of 278 passes for 2,583 yards and 27 touchdowns. After the season, he was honored as an All-America honorable mention, an All-Ohio Valley Conference member, and the OVC Player of the Year. As a junior, he led Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 138-of-207 passes for 2,068 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was selected to the AP All-America third team, All-Ohio Valley Conference first team and the OVC Player of the Year.
On December 19, 2002, Romo was the first player in Eastern Illinois and Ohio Valley Conference history to win the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the nation's top player at the NCAA Division I-AA level. He finished his career holding school and conference records with 85 touchdown passes. His last college game was a playoff loss to Western Illinois University. He was second in school and third in conference history with 8,212 passing yards. He was also second in school history with 584 completions and 941 attempts. As a senior, he set school and conference records for completions with 258 in 407 attempts for 3,418 yards, ranked him second in conference and third in school history for a season. He threw for 34 touchdowns and scored one rushing touchdown. Romo's 3,149 yards in total offense as a senior ranked third in school and conference history. Along with the Walter Payton Award, Romo earned consensus All-America honors. He was also selected All-Ohio Valley Conference and was named OVC Player of the Year for the third straight year.
Awards and honorsEdit
- 3x All-Ohio Valley Conference (2000–2002)
- 3x OVC Player of the Year (2000–2002)
- 3x All-American (2000–2002)
- Walter Payton Award (2002)
Romo attended the 2003 NFL Combine, but, despite intriguing some scouts, went undrafted during the 2003 NFL Draft. Throughout the draft, Romo was assured by Sean Payton of the Cowboys' interest (Romo was also intensely pursued by Denver head coach Mike Shanahan), and shortly afterwards was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Cowboys. Romo entered the 2003 training camp third on the Cowboys' depth chart behind Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson. In 2004, the Cowboys released Chad Hutchinson and signed veteran Vinny Testaverde and traded a third round draft pick to the Houston Texans for quarterback Drew Henson. Romo faced being cut from the roster until Quincy Carter was released following allegations of substance abuse. After Testaverde's tenure in Dallas ended in 2005, the Cowboys signed veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the eighth starting quarterback for the Cowboys since 2000.
One of Romo's early career highlights was in 2004, when (as the 3rd string QB) he rushed for the winning TD with 6 seconds left in an exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders. Elevated to the Cowboys' #2 quarterback in 2005, Romo had strong showings in the 2005 and 2006 pre-seasons. In the 2006 off-season, Sean Payton (now head coach of the New Orleans Saints), offered a third round draft pick for Romo, but Jerry Jones refused, asking for no less than a second round draft pick. Romo eventually took over the starting quarterback role from Drew Bledsoe during half time against the New York Giants on October 23.
Romo began the season as a backup to starter Drew Bledsoe. Romo first saw the field on October 1st. His first NFL pass was a 33 yard completion to Sam Hurd vs. the Houston Texans on the same day. During the same game, Romo also threw his first NFL touchdown pass to Terrell Owens.
Three weeks later on October 23, 2006, Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe for the start of the second half of a game against the New York Giants. His first pass was tipped and intercepted. His game stats in only his second NFL appearance were: 14 completions on 25 attempts for 227 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown). Two days later, on October 25, Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells announced that Romo would be the Cowboys starting quarterback for the October 29 game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football, in Week 8 of the 2006 season. Romo led the Cowboys to victory in his first game as a starter, 35-14. In that game, Romo was Sunday Night Football's "Rock Star of the Game".
On November 19, 2006 Romo led the Cowboys past the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL's last unbeaten team. Romo completed 19 of 23 passes as the Cowboys topped the Colts 21-14. Four days later, Romo helped the Cowboys win in a Thanksgiving Day game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the score of 38-10. Romo went 22-29 with 306 yards and five touchdown passes without an interception, becoming the highest rated quarterback in the league. He tied a franchise record for touchdown passes in a game set by several others, most recently Troy Aikman. For his performance, he was awarded FOX's Galloping Gobbler award as the Thanksgiving Day MVP.
Romo aided the Cowboys in clinching a playoff berth, the second since Bill Parcells became coach in 2003. He concluded the 2006 regular season with 220 completions on 337 pass attempts for 2,903 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, with a passer rating of 95.1.
On January 6th 2007, the Dallas Cowboys traveled to Qwest Field to play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC wild card playoff round. With the Cowboys down 21-20 and 1:19 left on the clock, Dallas attempted a 19-yard field goal. Romo botched the hold for the kicker by dropping the snap as he attempted to set it down. Romo then tried to run into the end zone for an impromptu touchdown, but was tackled at the one yard line by Seattle defensive back Jordan Babineaux. Seattle took over on their own one yard line. It is unusual for a starting quarterback to be the team's holder. The role usually goes to the backup quarterback or the punter. Romo had the job because he had begun the season as the backup quarterback. Romo finished the 2006 season ranked seventh in the NFC in passing yards (2,903) and touchdown passes (19).
Romo began the 2007 season with four touchdown passes and an additional touchdown rush, the first of his career, defeating the New York Giants 45-35 in the Cowboys' first game of the regular season, His 345 passing yards in Week 1 led the NFL. In Week 2, Romo threw for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns beating the Dolphins in Miami, ranking him 7th in passing yards and tied for 2nd with 6 touchdown passes. Romo added 329 passing yards and 2 touchdown passes in the Cowboys Week 3 34-10 win in Chicago. The following week, he passed for 339 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 35-7 win over the St. Louis Rams. He also ran for an additional touchdown. This brought his season totals to 1199 passing yards with 11 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing touchdowns. In Week 5 of the season on Monday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills, Tony Romo threw 5 interceptions (4 in the first half, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns), and lost a fumble. He is the second person in the history of Monday Night Football to throw 5 interceptions in a winning effort. The first person was his QB coach Wade Wilson. Nonetheless, he threw for 4211 yards (3rd in the NFL) and 36 touchdown passes during the regular season (second only to Tom Brady). His 97.4 passer rating was good enough for 5th in the NFL behind Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, David Garrard, and Peyton Manning.
On October 29, Romo reached an agreement to a six-year, $67.5 million contract extension with the Cowboys. The extension will bring Romo to eleven total seasons with the Cowboys.
On November 29 against the Green Bay Packers, in a game between 10-1 teams, Romo threw four touchdown passes (bringing his season total to 33), breaking Danny White's (29) record from 1983. On December 22 against the Carolina Panthers, Romo became the first Cowboy quarterback to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season. And finally on December 30 against the Washington Redskins, Romo broke the all-time completions record within the franchise with his 335th completion to Jason Witten.
In the Cowboys' January 13, 2008 Division playoff game against the New York Giants, Romo was unable to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory. On 4th down with less than half a minute and no timeouts left, Romo threw the ball into the endzone, but it was intercepted by Giants cornerback R. W. McQuarters, clinching the Giants' 21-17 victory. The loss made Romo 0-2 in two playoff appearances.
Records and honorsEdit
- 2006 Pro Bowl
- 2007 Pro Bowl
Dallas Cowboys team recordsEdit
- Games with 300+ yards passing: 7 (2007); Romo already has ten such games in his career, three short of Aikman's club record of 13.
- Passing TDs: 36 (2007); previously held by Danny White with 29
- Passing yards: 4211 (2007); first Cowboys quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season
- Completions: 335 (2007); previously held by White with 334
- TD passes: 5 (Nov 23, 2006); tied with Troy Aikman
Romo is an avid amateur golfer, and attempted to qualify for the 2004 EDS Byron Nelson Championship and the 2005 U.S. Open, but failed. During the offseason, when not training, he plays golf around Dallas. He failed to make the cut in qualifying for Byron Nelson in 2008.
Romo is also a frequent guest on local sports radio programs. Since 2006, he has been the co-host of "Inside The Huddle", a one-hour player commentary show that aired on ESPN Radio on KESN-FM in Dallas along with linebacker Bradie James. Romo signed on for his second season as the show's co-host and will be joined regularly by Cowboys wide receiver Sam Hurd. The show is broadcast on the KLLI radio station in Dallas and regionally on FSN Southwest Television.
He is beloved by his alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, where he was also a member of Sigma Pi fraternity where he was an active member of the fraternity contributing in intramurals. The university has had few professional athletes in its history. Mike Shanahan, coach of the Denver Broncos, also played quarterback for Eastern Illinois University. In addition to Shanahan, NFL coaches Sean Payton and Brad Childress have played for the university.
Romo had been socially associating with country music singer Carrie Underwood. They no longer date, but are still friends.  He was seen recently with actress Sophia Bush.  In November 2007, Romo began dating singer and actress Jessica Simpson. On December 16, 2007, Simpson attended a Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game at Texas Stadium, in which Romo had a bad performance in the loss to the Eagles.  Further controversy erupted before the playoff game against the New York Giants when pictures surfaced of Romo (along with teammates Jason Witten and Bobby Carpenter) at a resort in Cabo San Lucas with Simpson.
Romo is a third-generation Mexican American on his father's side. His grandfather, Ramiro Romo Sr., emigrated from Mexico to San Antonio, Texas as an adolescent. The elder Romo cites Tony's success as an example of the possibilities afforded to immigrants in the United States: "I've always said this is a country of opportunities. If you don't get a job or an education, it's because you don't want to."
In September 2007, Romo's father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Tony Romo has stated that, while upset about the family crisis, he still must continue to focus on his career.