Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went on the defense of Tony Romo and Jason Witten taking a now-infamous trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico during the bye week of the 2007 playoffs.
That happened to be the last time the Cowboys were the top-seed in the NFC, and they promptly fell 21-17 to the New York Giants in the divisional round the following week.
The Cowboys once again have the top-seed in the NFC, courtesy of stellar play by rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. But that ’07 trip remains a storyline.
Romo faced much criticism for the trip, which included his old celebrity gal pal Jessica Simpson. Witten, along with former linebacker Bobby Carpenter, also went.
But Jones refuted that the vacation had anything to do with the Cowboys’ early exit that year.
“I know it makes for real interesting dialogue, but I don’t think it had anything to do with what we were doing or what we didn’t do at all,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “I think that what you would say, ‘Well, that looked a little nonchalant.’ Well, you could interpret it that way, but make no mistake about it, the people that were involved there – Jason Witten.
“Now you think Jason Witten had his mind on this game? You think Jason Witten had his mind on this game then? Sure he did. To answer that part, he did. I promise you every word that came out of them ad nauseam … Tony Romo was giving up ‘what ifs’ about what goes on, what might go on in the game. So while they may have been there, they were talking about what was going to go on with this team and what’s going on next week in the game.”
Romo had a forgettable game, completing only half of his 36 passes for 201 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He finished with a 64.7 passer rating. Witten had seven catches for 81 yards.
The coach at the time, Wade Phillips, urged his players to get as far away from football during the bye weekend and Romo didn’t seemed concerned about it going into the New York game.
“Last weekend was good, just watching games,” Romo told reporters the Wednesday before the game. “I got away from the distractions. People don’t see things a certain way sometimes but I know the reality of the situation. I know what I need to get myself in position to hopefully be successful.
“People ask for tickets, media requests, all these things through the weekend. I was able to put my phone aside and just go out and get myself ready and watch some football. It was really fun. It was exciting.”
Of course, the result wasn’t as fun.
Jones described how he’ll spend the bye week as the owner leading into the game on Tuesday.
The Cowboys have the top overall seed for the sixth time in franchise history. They’ve won three Super Bowls with it (1977, 1993 and 1995), and have had one-and-one seasons the other two (1979 and 2007).
“Well [I’ll] spend a lot of time thinking about every nuance of what we’ve got ahead of us,” Jones said. “We’ve got a three-game season coming up. It’s a privilege. Don’t think for one second this owner doesn’t understand how rare this is to be in this spot. We had the opportunity in ’07 and it was on us and out of here and behind us and past us as you will before I blinked. I’ll never forget, I said, ‘How could we have missed that opportunity?’ Of course the Giants had something to say about that.
“But I look at the game itself, I replay that game against the Giants out here in 2007, I bet I replayed it 100 times and looked at it probably that many times. And those just hang with you, they haunt you. So we want to be ready [this year]. Want to be ready for every nuance.”