Commentary

Can the Jeremy Lin honeymoon last?

Knicks fans should savor the moments of Linsanity, as fans of Romo-mania can attest

Updated: February 19, 2012, 9:20 AM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

Jeremy Lin is everywhere we look these days.

On "SportsCenter." And the back page of every New York tabloid. He made the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

My 8-year-old son, Ashton, saw it Thursday afternoon and said, "That's Lin."

Trust me, three weeks ago he wouldn't have had a clue about Lin's identity. Me neither.

[+] EnlargeJeremy Lin Fans
Brace Hemmelgarn/US PresswireLinsanity has taken over in New York, bringing the Knicks back to relevance.

That shows you just how much Lin's life has changed since he captivated the basketball world with a string of terrific performances in the media and hype capitol of the world, also known as New York City.

But we all know his staying power will depend on his production, because the media often tears folks down as fast it builds them up.

He's a feel-good story right now because America loves an underdog, because underdogs give us hope, and hope is what motivates us to survive the gauntlet known as life. We also love stories that reinforce the notion that folks do get rewarded for hard work and perseverance.

In New York, Lin's story reminds folks of receiver Victor Cruz, who caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns to help lead the New York Giants to a Super Bowl title. In St. Louis, Lin's story reminds folks of Kurt Warner's improbable story of going from grocery store stocker to choreographer of the greatest show on turf.

For those of us who live in Dallas-Fort Worth, Lin should remind you of Tony Romo.

Stop laughing. Or crying.

It's true.

Promise.

Think back to 2006 and it'll become clear. Remember, Romo was an undrafted free agent who wasn't even worthy of an invite to the NFL scouting combine.

And if Sean Payton, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator at the time, hadn't been a graduate of Eastern Illinois, Romo probably never would've been at Cowboys training camp.

Romo made steady progress each of his first three preseasons, and then five games into the 2006 season Bill Parcells benched Drew Bledsoe for Romo during halftime of a game against the Giants.

Romo passed for more than 200 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in the second half against the Giants.

The next week, he passed for 270 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a win over Carolina. And he followed it up with 284 yards passing and two touchdowns in a three-point loss to Washington.

Then Romo passed for 308 yards in a win over Arizona, and 226 yards in an upset win over Indianapolis. On Thanksgiving Day, he passed for 306 yards and five touchdowns in a rout of Tampa Bay.

[+] EnlargeTony Romo
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty ImagesCowboys fans were gaga over Tony Romo after his ascent to starter, but Romo is now one of the most scrutinized QBs in the NFL.

The Cowboys extended their winning streak to four games 10 days later, when Romo passed for 257 yards in a 23-20 win over the Giants.

At that point, Romo had passed for 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He was going to be the Cowboys' next Hall of Fame quarterback, the heir to a throne vacated by Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

Then, Romo was so popular he could've gotten a table at The French Room without a reservation, while wearing shorts and sandals.

Seriously. Well, sort of.

You get the point.

Now do you see the similarities?

Lin plays for a storied franchise that has struggled for years to reach the standard of excellence it established in the 1970s with Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas and Willis Reed and again in the '90s with Patrick Ewing.

Even with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks were irrelevant before Lin became the NBA's best story.

No more.

Now the Knicks have shoved Miami to the side, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks.

They're the talk of the NBA.

And it all revolves around Lin and the success he has had in coach Mike D'Antoni's point guard-friendly offense.

All you have to do is remember how good you felt during Romo's first month as the Cowboys' starter.

Before the dropped snap in the Seattle Seahawks playoff game, and the ill-fated trip to Cabo before the 2007 playoff game against the Giants. Remember how good it felt to have a real quarterback after five years of Quincy Carter, Drew Henson, Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchinson, Anthony Wright, Ryan Leaf, Vinny Testaverde and Bledsoe.

That's exactly what Knicks fans feel every day when they wake up, turn on their computer and scour the Internet for every tidbit and analysis of Lin's most recent performance.

Knicks fans should savor this feeling for as long as they can because it won't always be like this.

Maybe Lin will fail to reach the ridiculous expectations heaped upon him. Or he'll be the scapegoat for a lost playoff series.

Remember how you used to feel about Romo, and how you feel about him now.

The innocence never lasts forever.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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