EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06: Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys talks with Tony Romo #9 against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 6, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
When Tony Romo approached special teams coach Joe DeCamillis on the plane ride back from New York on Sunday night, he offered his services as holder with a certain piece of sage advice in mind: "leadership is doing what needs to be done."
Romo's father told him that as a child and now, as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, tied for first place and embarking on an especially difficult December, Romo seems to embody that brand of leadership. With punter Mat McBriar struggling in his first year as the team's holder, and, in turn, Nick Folk struggling uncharacteristically in his third year, Romo stepped forward, in spite of a loathsome memory stemming from this role.
We're referring, of course, to the 2006 Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks, a game which was lost after Romo fumbled the snap on an easy field goal, which would have given the team a late lead. The memory is plenty fresh for Romo, but necessity called, and per his father's words, Romo answered.
"I'd prefer not to do it, I think, for obvious reasons," Romo said Thursday. "Pops told me one time, 'Leadership is doing what has to be done.
"When you're coming back to doing something, and something like that happened in the past, you have to be mentally strong and mentally feel as though you can do something at a high level," Romo said. "If I felt like I'm going to suck, I wouldn't be offering up to help in that situation. Hopefully I'm going to be pretty good. If I'm not, I'm not going to be doing it very long or at all."
Camillis was quick to praise Romo, who will likely serve as Dallas's holder on Sunday, and his willingness to return to the role in the team's time of need.
"To me, that just shows what a competitor he is and how much he wants to help our team win," said DeCamillis. "He had a bad experience, and he really wants to help us out and help us win games. That's a real pro."