Dear Tony Romo,
You don’t know me, but I am like many Cowboys fans out there. I became a fan when the Cowboys were good in the nineties because I was young then and the options were basically be a fan of the local team (the Buffalo Bills in my case) or be a fan of a Superbowl winner. I chose the latter, obviously. I then stayed with the team through the “lean years” of the late nineties through….well, when you came around. Sure, there were a couple decent years when Bill Parcells took over, but guys like Quincy Carter and Drew Hutchinson, not to mention older veterans like Bledsoe and Testaverde never inspired much confidence. Then a kid out of Eastern Illinois that was an undrafted free agent took the field to start the second half of the Giants game, and everything changed.
Dallas went from being a punchline, which had happened right around the time Aikman decided to hang up his cleats, to being respectable, and eventually feared. No quarterback since the hall of famer was able to generate the fear that you could in your tenure with the star on your helmet. There’s a reason you’re the franchise’s leading quarterback despite the fact that the history is adorned with names like Staubach, Meredith and the aforementioned Aikman. I can remember every spin move, every narrow escape, every little wink and nod to Jason Witten so he knew to run an in route instead of an out, resulting in a touchdown. Aikman made me a Cowboys fan, but you have made me a football fan. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, to see it play out so plainly on the field these last dozen years or so, while heart-wrenching, was also incredibly satisfying. The Dallas Cowboys could have been a footnote, a laughingstock of professional football, but you provided stability and an identity to a team that desperately needed one.
To say that your prime was wasted on bad play calling and some suspect defenses is an understatement. One can only hope that as you ride off into the sunset you are able to grab that elusive ring like your compatriot Demarcus Ware was with the Broncos a few years ago. I was thrilled then that he was able to climb that mountain, and before you hang it up for good, before you move into a far less high-contact occupation, I, and many Cowboys fans, hope you can achieve that same goal; an exclamation point on a hall of fame career, for a deserving quarterback.
Thank you, Tony, for all you have provided to the Cowboys franchise and pro football. You will be missed in Dallas but you have a nation of Cowboys fans pulling for your success.