EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the New York Giants on December 6, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 31-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
That Tony Romo had a career day in many respects on Sunday was lost as soon as Sam Hurd touched the ball on a desperation onside kick with less than a minute left, giving the ball to the Giants, and another December loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Romo hit on 41 of 55 passing for 392 yards, all career highs, and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately for him, the most visible stat after this one was "5-9"--Romo's career record in December.
But in his third full year as a starter, Romo might be the most scrutinized figure in the NFL.This makes the December talk, the record wielding doubters and so forth a mere side-note on the job description. The Cowboys, he said recently, aren't much worried about discussing and/or deconstructing their past failures, but interested in bouncing back and looking ahead to what will be another tough game, when San Diego comes to town next Sunday.
This is probably a smart move both with respect to the well-being of the team, and Romo's own sanity. Because the talk, as it always is around this time of year, is ubiquitous in the arena of national sports coverage, and downright suffocating around these parts.
The remedy for this--easy in theory and difficult in practice, particularly with the schedule ahead of Dallas--is winning.
"It just doesn't matter," Romo said in a recent Sporting News interview. "I've built up a turtle shell for positive and negative. You're never as great as they think you are when you play great. You're never as bad as they say you are when you play poor. And I think that goes with the team as well, and this team just puts the blinders on and keeps trying to get better."
Until the team does win in December though, the talk will remain; Romo has reconciled with this fact.
"We don't care about December talk," Romo said. "The season will be written when it's over with, no matter what happens in December. I know that's part of it until we win in December, but I just think this team needs to win."