Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hey, at least you're not Tony Romo today

If you had a bad weekend - one of those weekends where you're actually happy to be back at work - let's try to help you turn that frown upside down. (I had a good weekend, so I'd be one of those annoying guys trying to bring sunshine into the office.)

Sit back on this Monday morning and appreciate that you weren't the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. Even if you struck out or things didn't work to your liking, you couldn't have let the evening slip through your fingers like Tony Romo did.

In my lifetime of watching sports, something that has often amazed me is how many times a game is won by performing the simplest, most routine act, something done over and over to the point it becomes automatic.

I know, I know - athletes tune the surrounding circumstances out, get "in the zone," and just concentrate on the matter at hand. Happens all the time. But it seems to me that once you start thinking about the situation - that you really have to get it right this time, that this should be no problem because you've done it many times before - you're toast.

Do you have a better explanation for what happened to Romo against the Seahawks?

As Marty Mornhinweg once infamously said as Detroit Lions head coach, "There's no excuses in this league. Snap, hold, kick." Well, the snap was perfect, and the catch was fine. Place the ball down, and Dallas is off to Chicago for their next playoff game, right? But from there, in a split-second, it's like Romo's hands suddenly began sweating popcorn butter. Oops.

"That's as automatic a play as you have in this game," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said afterwards. "That just doesn't happen."

Another thing that sometimes amazes me in sports is how fast an athlete's fortunes can change. Since taking over for Drew Bledsoe in October, Romo has largely been on top of the sports world. It almost became comical how many interviews the guy was doing. If you had a camera and a microphone, and a sports show on television, Romo was talking to you. The can-you-believe-I'm-doing-this-right-now grin stuck on his face was charming.

He became America's sports sweetheart - a pop culture sensation - and just covering his games was no longer enough. We had to hear about the guy's social life, too. We were given more whether we wanted it or not. By the time he was voted to the NFC Pro Bowl team, I was pretty much sick of the guy. And maybe that's why my initial reaction to his botched snap on Saturday night was a Nelson Muntz-like, "HA-ha!"

After seeing him on the sideline, however, hunched over as if he might never look up from the ground again, I felt bad for Romo. Because this is the kind of thing that could ruin a promising career if he lets it stick with him. I imagine it won't. For one thing, Romo might never have to hold a place-kick in a game again. And to come from a small school and fight for a job the way he has shows that he's pretty tough.

But the burden of being the marquee player seemed to weigh Romo down during the final few games of the season. Maybe the pressure of living up to that billing finally caught up with him when he tried to place the ball down for Martin Gramatica. Is this just a painful trial that an athlete has to endure on the way to finding success? Or was this a quick flash that was destined to burn out fast?

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  • At January 08, 2007 1:26 PM, Blogger Big Al said…

    "Snap, hold, kick." One of my favorite Marty-isms.

    I honestly thought that Romo was going to make it to at least the 1st down marker. It took a nice hustle play by the 'hawks CB, and Grammatica not doing much of anything, that kept Romo from saving himself from himself.

    At the very least, now that Romo has committed a blunder that will rate with the long remembered ones, it should put an end to the media created "Romo-mania."


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