The public perception of Tony Romo — that portion of the public, at least, that doesn’t worship his dimples and his gaudy passing stats — is that he’s overrated, chokes in the big games and is too busy playing golf and walking the Hollywood red carpet to take the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl.
To which owner Jerry Jones has always said: “Ridiculous.”
Whatever truth lies in that perception, however, Owner Jones didn’t do his quarterback any favors last weekend by feeding it with details of Romo’s proposed new office hours.
The plan, according to Jerry, is to have Romo put in — try not to laugh — “Peyton Manning-type time on the job.”
“If Tony, for instance, would be here Monday through Saturday from seven in the morning to six o’clock at night — all over this place — then that’s better than the way it’s been,” Jones told the media gathered for the draft at Valley Ranch.
“We’ll have more success, and Jason [Garrett] believes that.”
Manning’s dedication and work ethic, as NFL fans know, is legendary. Tales abound of his hours of film study and how he would beat Colts coordinator Tom Moore to the office or be waiting at the projector for his quarterback coach at Tennessee, David Cutcliffe, before the sun would rise.
That’s not to say, Jones pointed out, that Romo doesn’t already put in the necessary grunt time to be a successful quarterback. He does, the owner said, but turning the dedication dial up to 11, the Manning level, would be “a bonus.”
Ramping up Romo’s involvement, in fact, came under prominent discussion during the Cowboys’ recent negotiations over the quarterback’s six-year, $108 million contract extension.
“A part of what we agreed on was extra time on the job, beyond the norm,” Jones said. “That doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a lot of time on the job but extra time on the job — Peyton Manning-type time on the job.”
Color me confused, then. If Romo’s commitment toward getting to the Super Bowl wasn’t an issue, why would Owner Jones have discussed it during long-term contract negotiations?
Why even bring up the subject over the weekend in front of an already draft-skeptical media?
Because Jerry can’t help himself, I guess. This weekend seemed to unnerve him. As Brother Galloway deftly pointed out Sunday, Jones’ usually thick skin betrayed him as he tried to convince us of the wisdom behind his team’s draft.
The convincing took an unconvincing turn, however, when Romo’s name was dragged into the discussion. It was revealed that Tony had his own list of demands before he gave Jerry the privilege of committing $108 million of his money.
Romo wanted Jones to assure that draft help was on its way for the offense — in particular, the offensive line. Jerry felt the Cowboys did that by selecting Wisconsin center Travis Frederick in the first round.
Jones then summoned Romo to Valley Ranch on Friday to, in effect, sign off on the next two offensive players that were taken — tight end Gavin Escobar of San Diego State and wide receiver Terrance Williams of Baylor.
Hmm. Romo’s nod meant more than the hundreds of hours that the team scouts spent preparing for the draft?
Draw your own conclusions. Romo is more involved now, Owner Jones declared. He’ll be studying more film, helping more with the game plan, etc., etc.
He’ll be our little Peyton on the Prairie.
So much for Cabo.