You noticed, of course, that the newly anointed second most powerful man at Valley Ranch made a rare public appearance last week.
It was Tony Time again. And there’s nothing in the NFL, and probably nothing in professional sports, like this particular Tony timeline.
Five months ago, in the wee hours of New Year’s Eve, Mr. Romo was answering questions in the stadium bowels at Landover, Md., attempting to explain one of the most what-the-heck-was-that disasters of his Dallas Cowboys career.
When Tony surfaced again last week, as the Cowboys were opening off-season workouts, he was attempting to downplay one of the most what-the-heck-was-that divine moments of anybody’s jock life.
From horse spit to The Horse.
That’s Tony Time, and the Tony timeline, for you.
For a quarterback with such a meager bottom line when it comes to winning time, it’s the most remarkable story in the NFL.
Romo is now more powerful at Valley Ranch than anyone except Jerry.
Stephen? Move over a chair.
Jason? You’ve officially been demoted to the front row.
It’s the Jerry and Tony Show, with Romo already involved last month in drafting, plus, according to Jerry, he now has a strong say in game planning, play calling and, I guess, who gets to clean Jerry’s eyewear.
When Mr. Jones gave Romo that new $108 million contract a month ago, he signed up both a quarterback and a love child.
And while some in the local media are in disagreement, I thought Romo had exactly the right approach during his rare interview session last week.
Tony either talked in circles or downplayed his new muscle, while totally dodging the obvious question: Did he go to Jerry demanding more authority?
The criticism was Romo didn’t step up and admit his new leadership role.
We already know the bus is coming right at Jason Garrett, but the dumbest thing Romo could have done last week was give the head coach a push in the you-know-what direction.
The month of May is not the time for that. We will know soon enough.
Tony has worked under the offensive direction of Garrett for six seasons now. For those of us who have campaigned for Jason to hire an offensive coordinator who could provide Romo with a new voice, we knew the odds were heavily against that.
But Jerry stepped in this off-season and, like it or not, gave Garrett that new voice. It will be Tony talking. With Jason also dug in this off-season, how much does the head coach plan on listening?
Old-friend Albert Breer of the NFL Network — he’s a former local football writer — interviewed Mr. Jones last week. Jerry was not backing off on Romo’s new impact:
“He’s in a position where he can be involved in decision-making, and should be. He’s gonna make them out there on the field, so, he should be, with his experience, involved in the formation of what we’re going to be doing game planning.”
Of course, Garrett has already answered that with a “Tony has always been involved with the game planning.”
But for once, Jones ain’t double-talking here. Romo’s decision-making role, he’s telling us, will be greatly expanded, which will be interesting since Romo’s on-the-field decision-making at winning time is one of the biggest knocks on Tony, fair or not.
Also note that in this NFL Network interview, Jerry tied Romo’s new money into the quarterback’s authority surge, plus he denied the heavy speculation that Garrett’s job will be on the line this season.
Jones: “Well, when you give someone $100 million, then you would like to get every ounce of anything they can bring to the table to win a football game.”
(OK, Jerry, except normally a quarterback is paid that handsome sum because he’s already won a bunch of big games.)
And more Jerry, this time on Garrett’s job security:
“Well, no. No, he’s not... to the last question: Is Jason coaching for his job? No. What’s we’re doing is taking the assets we have, and Jason being right at the top, and certainly our premier asset, and we’re using them to the best of our ability ...
“We’re going to take what we’ve got, as an example, Romo’s great experience, ability, decision-making, all of those things, and we’re going to try and win more ballgames.”
Side note to Garrett:
I’d get that “No. No, he’s not” comment in writing, plus notarized. Just in case, of course, you need that document come December.
Then again, maybe Romo can save Garrett’s job, either by not repeating such foolishness as the Landover game five months ago, or simply because he’s now got more Jerry-invested power than the head coach.