SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Jerry Jones has seen this sort of remarkable displays of toughness and clutch poise before. Just not very often.
Maybe only once.
Watching Tony Romo lead a double-digit rally while playing with a broken rib reminded the owner/general manager of one of the NFL’s all-time testaments to toughness.
“I’ve got to put this one on the level with [when] I saw Emmitt Smith run with that broken-down shoulder,” Jones said after Romo threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s overtime win over the 49ers. “It’s one of those.”
Jones is referring, of course, to the Hall of Fame performance in the 1993 regular-season finale. Smith suffered a separated shoulder early in that game and still served as a workhorse in a 13-10 win at the Meadowlands, carrying 32 times for 168 yards and catching 10 passes for 61 yards and a score.
That performance clinched the NFC East title for the Cowboys, earning a playoff bye and setting up their second consecutive Super Bowl run. Romo’s performance against the 49ers evened the Cowboys’ record in the second week of the season.
Jones is well aware of the difference in the timing of the two performances, but he argues that the stakes weren’t necessarily higher for Smith’s epic day.
“This franchise needed this win in the worst way,” Jones said. “After what happened to us last year, to leave here with two losses was going to be a hell of a hurdle for us to overcome. So that was as meaningful as anything for our franchise and our future this year as you could do.”