After recovering from the shock of seeing the mild-mannered Wade Phillips banging tables during the State of the Cowboys address on Tuesday, I went back and took a look at some of the things he said about his quarterback. Tony Romo's leadership qualities have been maligned by some and celebrated by others, but Wade seemed determined to make sure that everyone knew that he'd follow Tony into the jaws of Satan himself.
"I was around John Elway and he was similar in that he was at every workout during the off-season. The rest of the players look at that, and if you have anybody slacking off during the offseason you can go to them and say, 'Look, Tony Romo is out there working; you need to be working.'"
That's very admirable, and it might even be true but that doesn't mean that it matters. You're never going to convince anyone that Romo is a leader of men as a quarterback by telling them that he's a leader. Romo is the only one who can create that opinion, and he can only create it by winning games.
Leadership qualities certainly exist, but there's no definitive answer to whether quarterbacks win because they lead or become leaders because they win. The only thing that we know for sure is that no one's going to write odes to leadership of a quarterback without a playoff win whose teams go into the tank come December.
The center of the Dallas Cowboys universe.
Romo could inspire world peace, teach the world to sing and buy them all a Coke and it wouldn't make anyone think he's a leader if the Cowboys go 7-9.
A new leader? Tony Romo just arrived at practice LATE.
Maybe it bothers people that Romo was late to the first session of the year, maybe it doesn't but, again, it doesn't matter. Win games and no one will think twice about extolling your virtues as a leader even if you miss practice because you're sleeping off a bender. Win games and no one will care if you're fatter than William Howard Taft or lazier than Warren Harding. Win games and no one will care if you dumped Jessica Simpson because your heart belongs to O.J. Simpson.
Okay, perhaps that last one raises an eyebrow or two, but you get the point. It's not about how Romo spends his free time or how vocal he is in the locker room or anything else that's been discussed ad nauseum. It's about the games he's lost, and changing that is the only way to prove his credentials as a leader.