There might never be a better shorthand way of describing Tony Romo's status in the football firmament than this season's loss to the Giants.
Romo was fitted with goat horns after the game because he missed Miles Austin by inches on what probably could have been a game-sealing touchdown and would have been, at worst, a play that made a Cowboys win much more likely. The ball missed, though, and Eli Manning led the Giants to an improbably 37-34 victory.
The finger pointing at Romo went on despite the fact that he led the team to 34 points against their closest division rival in a huge game that saw DeMarco Murray leave early with a serious injury and it went on despite the fact that Austin could/should have laid out in an attempt to do anything possible to catch the pass. And it went on despite the fact that Romo put the team in position to hit a game-tying field goal.
It was an odd place to lay blame and we haven't even gotten to the pathetic effort of Rob Ryan's defense, which allowed Eli Manning to throw for 400 yards and drive the field twice in the last five minutes for touchdowns that gave them the victory. Unless Romo moonlights as a cornerback, it seems hard to believe he really was the main reason why the Cowboys lost that game.
Yet he was and that pretty much defines Romo's career. Whatever he has achieved as the Cowboys quarterback, Romo's career is defined by his mistakes.
That can change on Sunday night. If Romo can beat the Giants and give the Cowboys an NFC East title, it will be very difficult to continue making his legacy all about botched holds and ill-timed trips to Mexico.
He will have led a team with a hideously flawed defense, shaky offensive line and inconsistent running game to a division title with a win on the road in the final game of the season. That he'll have done it a week after leaving a game with an injury adds a little Hollywood to the story, but the polish to his biography would be just the same without that detail.
And, yes, this holds true even if Romo should have an average game that turns on a Manning interception or Felix Jones running wild or anything other than a virtuoso performance. After all, we already know that he'll get blamed for the loss regardless of what he does.
The same should hold true if Romo brings one more home game to JerryWorld.
You can watch Sunday night's game on NBC5, kick-off at 7:30pm.
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