CBS SPORTS – There are any number of polarizing figures in sports today: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Tebow, Michael Vick, Roger Goodell, the NHL commissioner who deserves to be punched in the face … any number.
But none of them, at least for the moment, have a chance to totally revamp their image in a single moment the way one polarizing figure does this weekend. That figure is Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.
One game can change Romo’s image of a pretty boy with the million dollar arm and nickel cranium into something better. Beat the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys make the playoffs, and his image can be transformed. Lose, and it stays the same. Lose, and that rep might get worse.
This is how Romo is viewed now: as a soft player who can put up at times mind-boggling numbers during the regular season but at some point chokes. That choke job normally happens late in the year and usually in the biggest of games or moments. The fact the Cowboys with Romo as quarterback have been playoff-challenged and late-season gag champs isn’t all on Romo. But much of it is.
Early in the year, we see Romo beat the best teams in the sport. Late in the season, when the Cowboys need him at his best, the team loses. This has been the Romo two-step. You can put it to music.
Now comes the opportunity of a career. He faces one of the NFL’s darlings in Robert Griffin III, who is becoming one of the poster QBs for how to perform gracefully under pressure on and off the field.
If Romo beats a hot Washington team and quarterback, it could go a long way to change how Romo is viewed. Sure, it’ll be just one big win, but it would be huge, and Dallas would be one of those teams no one wants to play in the postseason.
Romo is 3-1 in December. He’s playing some of his best football but we’ve seen him play great football in spots before. We’ve rarely seen him have a moment like this. Big game. Playoffs at stake. And he wins.
Do that and Romo can change so much. It all starts now.
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