The Dallas Cowboys’ performance on Monday Night Football in the icy conditions of Chicago was yet another reminder of the greatest flaw in America’s Team: mental weakness. It’s expected that at least a few younger, less experience players wouldn’t be ready to go in a game of these conditions, but it affected the man who is regarded as the Cowboys’ leader in a way that should concern Dallas fans. Of all players, Tony Romo was the one who wasn’t ready to play and it cost his team dearly.
This isn’t the endless debate of whether Romo is a viable franchise quarterback; this is about where he is now as a $100 million signal-caller who has been given the reins of America’s most popular sports team and how he handled it on an adversarial stage. The Chicago Bears were without their starting quarterback and veteran linebacker, yet they marched up and down the frozen field and halted the Cowboys’ offense to the point Dallas gave up.
The worst part was Romo. Even before the game got out of hand, he wasn’t into it. His mind was elsewhere: Somewhere warm and indoors. The cold literally took him out the game mentally, which caused him to miss several throws that can’t be blamed on the weather because Josh McCown had no problem compiling 348 yards and four touchdowns through the air.
If anyone could have saved the Cowboys from a mental standpoint, it was Romo, but he wasn’t ready to play. DeMarco Murray and Barry Church were both ready, but neither of them have been in the league nearly as long as Romo and neither of them have been called the unquestioned leader of the team. Well, Romo’s title is now indeed being questioned, and for good reason: He didn’t have the mindset of a $100 million franchise quarterback on Monday night.
As much as Cowboys fans would like to, they can’t blame this one on the coaching staff. Murray and Joseph Randle combined for 199 yards on 27 carries and this marked the first time Murray had over 100 rushing yards (146) and the Cowboys lost.
Even still, others will be quick to point out the fact Romo had three passing touchdowns on just 20 attempts. True, but only two of them mattered and both were in the first half when the game was tied at 14. His last one didn’t come until the game had already been decided and the Bears were just having a party on the field after Mike Ditka’s number was retired at halftime.
The point is Romo proved in a game the Cowboys had to win to stay in first place in the lowly NFC East that he can’t do it. Sure, he might have done it if the weather had been nice, but the weather won’t be nice in the Super Bowl and the quarterbacks who play in that game won’t let the miserable conditions affect their mindsets. Romo let the elements take him out of the game, which caused his teammates’ psyches to falter as well. That’s not a characteristic of a $100 million franchise quarterback. But this franchise’s lack of mental toughness starts at the top. #JerryIsTheProblem