What began as an innocent little joke has morphed into a national punch line that will have you shooing Tony Romo away from your son’s Little League baseball game — just in case.Tony Romo is the Angel of Death, not only for the team he plays for, but for the team he cheers.Duke basketball, SMU basketball, Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks and Wisconsin basketball can all apparently trace an individual loss or their season’s end to the presence of their “fan,” Tony Romo.The latest “incident” came when Romo, dip cup in hand, attended the Mavs’ Game 4 home playoff game Monday. The Mavs lost. Of course, because it’s funny, it’s Romo’s fault. That he is a curse.The Romo Curse is an Internet sensation providing great fun for talk shows and social media memes, but underneath it all is the cold reality that a position that once was held in the highest esteem is now a joke.People may think Tony Romo is a good player, because he is, but the position he plays no longer commands the respect it once did. He is partly to blame.When he took over as the starter in 2006, Romo’s story from partial-scholarship kid at a I-AA school to undrafted NFL rookie to starter was inspirational, and Romo was often mobbed by fans when he tried to go anywhere.Now, anywhere he goes he’s secretly or openly laughed at.Do you think that ever happened to Roger or Troy?Hell no, and no.Did people openly mock and laugh at Russell Wilson at the dog-and-pony show at Texas Rangers spring training? Anyone laughing these days at Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or even Andrew Luck?There were high hopes that Romo would successfully continue the quarterback lineage that began with Don Meredith and continued with Roger Staubach, Danny White and Troy Aikman. Romo had moved past the bobbled snap in Seattle in the ’06 playoffs, and was everything the Cowboys wanted in a quarterback with one vital component missing. But winning in the playoffs would come with time.Seven NFL seasons have passed since the bobble in Seattle, and now Tony Romo is 34.He is married. He has as many kids as he has back surgeries.As a player, he very likely has reached what he is going to be: a good passer who will be remembered as being famous for being famous.In his first four years in the NFL, Romo was 39-20, which included four playoff games.In his last four years in the NFL, Romo is 25-28.Don’t believe that trend does not bother him.There have been some fortunate quarterbacks Romo’s age who reached Super Bowls — Brad Johnson, John Elway, Rich Gannon, Peyton Manning and Jim Plunkett, to name a few.Romo has time. There is precedence but, considering all the things that have happened and the team he has around him, it more and more feels like this is what he is. Increasingly, his legacy as a player will be defined more about what he did not do than what he did.Romo is really good. What he has done is win a lot of games, and he had a lot of fun.And now a lot of people make fun of him.Matrix, take a bowThe Dallas Mavericks have six potential free agents, including one who isn’t going anywhere. Dirk Nowitzki’s contract is up, but we know he is not leaving.The one veteran who is likely to leave and who will never have his number retired had a significant impact on this franchise. Shawn Marion, you were good.Marion’s contract is up, and at 35, it would be surprising if the Mavericks brought him back.He was acquired in a four-team trade in July 2009. In the five seasons, Marion has been a total pro — and a migraine for other teams.Despite possessing that funky flip shot, Marion was a durable and reliable player who could guard four positions. He was a major player for the Mavs’ title team in 2011.Marion has played 15 seasons, including the first eight in Phoenix. He made his name with the Suns, but his biggest impact came with the Mavericks.A first for GPTCU defensive back Jason Verrett is scheduled to be in New York to attend the NFL Draft party on Thursday night, where he is expected to be a first-round pick.That would make Verrett the second first-round pick for coach Gary Patterson.In an effort to show his head coach some love, Verrett has invited GP to NYC to attend the party.Patterson will not be flying with the Verrett crew but said he plans to attend his player’s special night.The other first-round pick in the Patterson era was defensive end Jerry Hughes in 2010. Verrett will be TCU’s highest-selected player since LaDainian Tomlinson was picked fifth overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2001 (Patterson was named TCU’s head coach in December 2000).PredictionIf he falls to No. 16, the Cowboys will not select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel on Thursday night. Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog on star-telegram.com/sports/.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof