Before Dak Prescott got his chance to become the franchise cornerstone at the quarterback position, Tony Romo held down the position for nearly a decade. Romo had been the leading factor on the team for many years, but a back injury led to him being sidelined for the 2016 campaign and thrust Prescott into the starting role. However, he fully healed from the injury during the season that could have seen him make a bid at the starting job. He recently opened up again about his decision to go the route he did with the situation to allow Prescott to retain the position.
Dak Prescott takes over Cowboys’ starting job
In the month heading into the 2016 season, there was some chatter around the Cowboys selecting Prescott in the fourth round of that year’s draft.
Romo was on track to make his return to the lineup after he played in just four games the season prior after suffering another fractured collarbone injury. The injury bug once again bit him as he suffered a compression fracture to the L1 vertebra in his back during the team’s third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Prescott stepped in the starter for at least the first several weeks of the season as Romo recovered from his injury. Following a tough Week 1 loss to the New York Giants, the team won their next eight games to push them toward one of the best marks in the league.
Despite Romo healing fully from the injury, he wrote a statement that backed Prescott to remain the starter for the rest of the season. The four-time Pro Bowler finished what turned out to be his final campaign with one appearance that saw him complete 3-of-4 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, the Cowboys won the NFC East with a 13-3 record and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Tony Romo on handing over starting job to Dak Prescott
During that time of his career, Romo was beginning to face serious questions about his future the Cowboys. Prescott was proving to be a potential long-term fit under center for the franchise.
In a classy manner, Romo decided to back the Mississippi State product as the starter moving forward for the franchise. During a recent interview on In Depth With Graham Bensinger, the 39-year-old voiced that he felt that decision was bigger than himself and was for the betterment of the team with Prescott remaining the starting quarterback. (H/T Matthew Lenix of Cowboys Wire)
“Well, I think anybody who’s winning that many games, their team was playing so well, I mean that’s kind of what will always happen,” Romo said. “You just don’t mess with that kind of success.”
“Football is really not about any individual, but we all want to be the best…one of the major reasons you’re winning and being great. You know, as you become a dad and you get older, you can kind of see there are rare multiple sides. It’s just not about me. It’s about so many more people. I just feel like when your team is playing well and everybody is playing really good football, it’s just a team sport. It’s not about an individual.”
That move by Romo showed the content of his character as he knew that Prescott was the future of the franchise. It’s a tough move to make, and not often seen by aging quarterbacks, but he saw it and committed himself to it for the betterment of the Cowboys.
Cowboys’ future ahead
Since that move, the Cowboys have reached the playoffs in two out of the first four seasons with Prescott at the helm.
With each season, he has shown some steady improvement, but there is some more room for improvement. The Cowboys are in the midst of a contract discussion with him, but things look to be headed toward a long-term commitment.
Meanwhile, Romo is a few years into his broadcasting career with CBS and is heralded by many as being one of the best at his new position. It has helped him earn a lucrative long-term contract with the company to remain alongside legendary broadcaster Jim Nance for many years to come.
Although it marked the end of an era for Romo in Dallas, it was a move that he made with the franchise’s long-term future in mind.