Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Romo Reverberations

Starting centerfielder for the New York Yankees.

Starting center on the Los Angeles Lakers.

And starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

Those are among the most high profile positions in the entire sports world.

Now one Tony Romo joins the list of those who have starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys permanently affixed to their name. It's a list that includes legends like Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman and successful, quality players like Danny White and Don Meredith.

And if it's too soon to get carried away with one great win Sunday Night, too soon to put the player in Canton as Romo's coach likes to put it, it's not too soon to assess the enthusiasm and spirit the new quarterback has sparked throughout the organization -- players, fans, coaches.

The biggest ripple effect can be registered in the improved demeanor of the head coach, Bill Parcells, whose attitude and outlook seem to have changed 180 degrees in the course of one gut wrenching roller coaster of an NFL week -- from the debacle on Monday Night Football to the stunning victory Sunday night led by the player he has been grooming ever since Parcells took the reins of the team before the 2003 season.

It was that year that Parcells signed the free agent Romo, who had a prolific college career playing Division I-AA football at Eastern Illinois, and stashed him away while the carousel of starting Cowboys QBs spun its wheels around, and it wasn't always pretty -- spitting out Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchison, Drew Henson, Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe. All the while Romo studied and waited and practiced, waiting for a turn that might have never arrived had the vicissitudes of opportunity and circumstance played out in a thousand other, more likely ways. Then the increasingly ineffective, often poor play of Bledsoe forced Parcells' hand. Had the move not worked out, the fallout would have been immediate and widespread -- and you could've bet large sums of money it would not have been positive.

Now it's his job to keep. In my opinion, he just showed too much to not be the real deal. You pick up a few things after watching and playing the game through the decades. As Parcells himself has said for years, Confidence is borne of demonstrated ability. Add one other thing to that equation: when a quarterback demonstrates a certain talent, the rest of the squad sees their confidence increase -- and success feeds on itself. It's a beautiful thing to watch, and to see it rising up from the ground floor is one of the main reasons we keep watching.

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