What a difference 12 hours makes.
Just last night I watched Dirk Nowitzki hit his signature fadeaway to notch his 30,000th point, becoming the 6th NBA player to join that club. A future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Dirk has cemented his legacy on the Mount Rushmore of Dallas sports figures, arguably at #1 (Mike Modano has just as strong of a case, but that is another conversation for another day). It was just one of many signature Dirk moments in an NBA career that has spaned over 19 years. I cannot remember Mavs basketball without Dirk.
Similarly I cannot remember Cowboys football without Tony Romo.
However, come tommorow I will be greeted by that reality.
He might not have the ring, the stats that put him in some exclusive club, nor the tenure that Dirk had (Romo's era in Dallas began in 2006, Dirk's began in 1999), but in my eyes he was every bit Dirk's equal. Everyone remembers their first sports idol, the player that they love more than any other. For me Tony Romo was that figure. He was the reason why I became a die hard Cowboys fan, and he was the first player to introduce me to the world of sports.
Unlike post-2011 Dirk, Tony Romo was one of DFW's most polarizing athletes. As the starting QB for America's team Romo's every move was picked apart and analyzed. You either loved him or you hated him. Everyone knows I went to the ends of the Earth to defend whatever "mistake" he made during the week of a loss. It was from this defense that "Romoism" was birthed from. I know most of it was just for laughs, but "Romoism" might be the best word to describe how I have viewed Romo as his time as the Cowboys' QB.
Unlike Dirk, who will go out on his own terms and all its glory, Romo's exit from the Cowboys is more or less a whimper. He spent his final season as the backup to Dak Prescott, who will be a fitting role model for the next generation of Cowboys fans. Instead of some press conference announcing his retirement from the only organization he has ever played for, his Cowboys departure will occur tommorow morning with a tweet or a brief announcement. His only 2016 press conference might be the closest thing we will have to any sort of formal goodbye.
So goodbye Tony Romo.
Goodbye to the quarterback who drew routes in the grass on MNF against the Redskins.
Goodbye Tony Romo, who avoided being sacked by JJ Watt and then threw a TD to Terra########i#########Goodbye Tony Romo, who converted a first down after the snap flew over his head against the Rams.
Goodbye Tony Romo, who helped lead numerous Cowboys comebacks, including the one against Detroit in 2014.
Goodbye Tony Romo, the quarterback who now holds most of the Cowboys' passing records.
And finally goodbye Tony Romo, a man who showed the upmost class in the most trying of conditions. His 10 years here were full of ups and downs, but Sundays were anything but boring. He took what should have been a 10 yard loss and turned it into a 15 yard gain. Yes, he didn't win a Super Bowl here, but who could with the flaws some of those teams had?
He was the quarterback we didn't deserve and it is a shame we didnt fully appreciate him until he was well on his way out. Wherever he goes I will be rooting for him to succeed, and it would be a shame if he doesn't have a ring by the time he retires.
So thank you Tony Romo for 10, captivating, never dull, emotional rollercoaster seasons. I don't think I would of wanted it any other way.