Tony Romo was back in the house, once again watching Dak Prescott do his thing.
Just like last year.
The tiniest difference was that Romo is no longer wearing a baseball cap on the sidelines. Instead, the former All-Pro quarterback is killing it as a CBS broadcaster next to Jim Nantz. Dak, meanwhile, continues to do the same for the Cowboys.
Both are in their elements, thriving.
This date — Romo’s first in the booth to call a game involving his former team — had been circled for months, and on Sunday both Romo and Dak looked like they had been in their respective jobs for far longer than they have.
The Cowboys defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 28-17 and, at least for these two guys, this is the way it was supposed to be. This doesn’t happen often, certainly not often enough, but we should be happy for everyone involved. The whole Dak/Romo debate worked out best for all parties.
“The games I’ve seen [Romo call], he’s been great,” Dak said. “He brings a lot of excitement and has this high-pitched voice in big plays that gets everybody going. It’s exciting. From home, you can kind of put yourself in the game.”
No disagreement. Romo’s decision to pursue broadcasting rather than play another year, be it with the New York Jets, Houston Texans or Denver Broncos, was the right call.
He is still around football without getting killed. He didn’t have to move. He’s good at his new job.
CBS’s decision to give Romo the No. 1 analyst spot next to Nantz, despite having no experience, was the right call. Romo isn’t John Madden, Cris Collinsworth or Troy Aikman yet, but he’s prepared, insightful, excited, funny and quick.
The Cowboys’ decision to go with Dak has turned out to be the right call, too.
On this, everybody won.
This week, Romo was at his former place of work to “interview” his former head coach, and the guy who fell into taking his job for the CBS production meetings. Awk-ward.
“It was, ‘Good to see you,’ then it was pretty much straight to business,” Dak said. “He didn’t have to ask some of the questions that most announcers have to because he knows a bit of our offense and knows the players. It was simple.”
Before the game, the Cowboys showed a 2-minute Romo tribute video that was narrated by former teammate Jason Witten.
You forget just how many fun, memorable plays Romo created out of nothing. The touchdown pass when he should have been sacked by J.J. Watt. The first down when he should have just fallen on the errant snap but turned it into a long run. The face-down celebration after the TD pass in the playoff win against Detroit.
Watching Romo’s reaction to the video, it was evident that interviewing Dak Prescott and Jason Garrett was more fun than this. He was watching highlights from his life, and while his decision to sit in the booth is the right one, looking back is not always easy. Those moments are real, but they’re also gone.
In Romo’s place is a guy who is not on pace to statistically better his record rookie season. But through eight games, Dak has more than quelled any fears that he was doomed for the cliche “sophomore slump.”
While he has not passed for 300 yards in a game this season, he doesn’t care. Nor should he. Dak is 18-6 as an NFL quarterback, and right now both he and his offense are rolling.
“I’m a better player overall than I was last year, a better passer overall,” Dak said. “Seeing the defense, being able to get through my reads, to do all of that, [I am] definitely better than I was a year ago.”
He’s completing just under 63 percent of his passes for 1,818 yards with 16 touchdowns and four picks. He’s already better than so many others at his position, including the guy he defeated Sunday.
With quarterbacks such as Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and a few others approaching “That age,” Dak is one of the few quarterbacks in line to be part of the next generation of stars.
Dak outplayed Alex Smith on Sunday and had one of “those plays” that puts him in that special category. The play was reminiscent of when Romo made something when there was no play to be made.
With 21 seconds to go in the first half, Dak lined up in the shotgun for a third-and-goal play from the 10. He was flushed from the pocket and almost sacked by Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey. The normal guy falls down, and the offense settles for a field goal.
Dak is simply too strong, too athletic, and ran it in for a touchdown.
Just as Romo spoiled us with those plays, so too does Dak.
The Cowboys scored a touchdown in every quarter against Kansas City, the last a Dak-to-Cole Beasley pass that ended the game with nine minutes remaining.
The score wrapped up an afternoon where everybody won.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof