Thursday, April 8, 2010
Stadium flashback: An inauspicious start
By Jeff Caplan
After breaking his first NFL huddle as the Dallas Cowboys' starting quarterback, Tony Romo had his pass intercepted by the New York Giants.
At Texas Stadium on Oct. 23, 2006, Bill Parcells' Cowboys weren't exactly getting their clocks cleaned on Monday Night Football by the New York Giants, but it sure wasn't pretty. Starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe resembled a standing target -- he was sacked four times in the first half -- while completing just 7-of-12 passes for 111 yards.
The Cowboys trailed 12-7 at the half and the natives were grumbling, to put it mildly.
Then the course of the Cowboys' future changed with their opening possession of the second half. Backup quarterback Tony Romo pulled on his helmet, jogged off the sideline and into the huddle.
Here comes my most memorable moment at the old yard in Irving.
The Giants' kickoff was a touchback, and Dallas is at its own 20-yard line. An energy not felt at Texas Stadium in some time sweeps through the building. The Cowboys break the huddle and Romo gets under center as everyone sitting in a blue seat was fully aware -- or at least hoping -- that they were finally witnessing the passing of the quarterback torch to young No. 9. Since Troy Aikman, the torch has been more like a hot potato, but on with the moment ...
Romo takes the snap, drops back, looks, looks, fires and ... the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage, high in the air. Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce has a bead on it, swallows it and sets up the Giants at the Cowboys' 14-yard line. Three plays later, the Giants led 19-7 and the rout was on.
And with that, the Tony Romo era had begun.
Sorry, Tony, but if that's the worst thing that happens in your career, it's been a pretty good life.