Tony Romo has been the talk of the football world with his recent decision to retire from football to join CBS’s announce team. The former Dallas Cowboy quarterback will now color commentate alongside Jim Nantz as CBS’s top broadcast team. This seems like the strangest ending we could have seen to the Tony Romo saga. Less than a year ago, the thirteen year veteran broke his back and surrendered his starting job to rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott would never relinquish the job back to Romo and forced him to take a backup role for the entire 2016-2017 season. Now that he is no longer an active quarterback, all we can do is look back on the career that was Tony Romo.
After going undrafted in the 2004 NFL draft, Romo fought his way onto the Dallas Cowboys roster and served as a backup his first two years in the league behind Drew Bledsoe. Once he gained an opportunity to start, Romo flourished as the Cowboys quarterback. Romo retired as the Cowboys active leader in passing yards and touchdowns and will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play for “America’s Team”.
Despite all of the success he achieved, Romo will always be haunted by his 2-4 playoff record. Many experts would not put him in the top tier of quarterbacks because of his inability to play big when it mattered. This also carried over to some of Romo’s former teammates as well. As the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback, he was bound to have some supporters as well as some outspoken haters.
Here are 8 players who loved being Tony Romo’s teammate and 7 who hated it:
15 Loved - Ronald Leary
Ronald Leary’s relationship with Tony Romo does not come anywhere to Jason Witten status, but they still became close during their few years together In Dallas. Like Romo, Leary went undrafted and was signed as a free agent by the Cowboys prior to the 2012 season. He fought off a degenerative knee condition and went on to start every game for the Cowboys his rookie season. His most dominant season came this past year when he helped rookie Ezekiel Elliot lead the league in rushing. With Dallas having an overload of offensive lineman, Leary signed with the Denver Broncos during free agency.
Once in Denver, reporters asked Leary where he thought Romo would end up. He responded by telling them how he loved playing with Romo and believes he still had plenty of game left in his system. He might be the only player on this list to come out and say he loved Tony Romo one way or another.
14 Hated - DeMarco Murray
Demarco Murray had one of the best years statistically for a Dallas Cowboys running back in 2014 when he ran for 1,845 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. He helped the Cowboys finish with a 12-4 record and 1st place in the NFC East. He became an every down back and relieved pressure off of Tony Romo’s back (No Pun Intended). Following the 2014 season, however, it came time to pay Murray and the Cowboys were not willing to pay him as the top back in the league.
Murray told Romo in the offseason he should take a paycut if he wanted him to stick around. Not many running backs would tell their quarterback to take less money unless their was some envy involved. Even after Romo restructured his contract that offseason, Murray still went ahead and signed with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles. Nothing but bad blood could come from signing with a team’s arch rival.
13 Loved - Jason Witten
Tony Romo would not be the quarterback he is today without the security blanket that is Jason Witten. Witten has spent his entire fourteen year career with the Dallas Cowboys and will go down as one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game of football. Whenever the team was in need of a 1st down, Witten was always the guy Romo would target. Witten had an astonishing 147 targets in the 2012 season, showing how much he means to Romo on the field.
Off the field, Witten and Romo have been seen spending a majority of their free time together. The most controversial trip they took together was a trip to Cabo during the bye week of the 2007 playoffs. Many people were critical of the two going on vacation the week of the playoffs that eventually led to a loss. The two faced the criticism together and proved that their friendship could conquer any test from the media.
12 Hated - Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott will always be known as the man who took Tony Romo’s job from him, so it is certainly understood why there would be bad blood between the two of them. Once Prescott found success with the team, Romo began distancing himself further away from the team and the young quarterback specifically. Even before the drama between the two quarterbacks this past season, Prescott showed why he might not be Romo’s biggest supporter even before he was a Cowboy.
In 2012 following a loss to the Washington Redskins, Dak Prescott tweeted that he was done sticking up for Tony Romo and later tweeted that he can’t finish and there shouldn’t be any excuses. It must have been awkward the first time the two came together to shake hands.
11 Loved - Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens will always be remembered as one of the most difficult receivers for a quarterback to play with. For references, ask Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia. However, Owens took an immediate liking to Tony Romo after signing with the team in 2006. Owens played three seasons with the Cowboys totaling 38 touchdowns to go with three straight 1,000 yard seasons. Despite their on-field connection, Romo and Owens’ bromance reached the mountain top following a playoff loss in 2008.
Owens was always known to wear his emotions on his sleeves, but he took the divisional round playoff loss to the New York Giants extremely personal. With tears streaming down his face, he repeatedly told reporters that Romo was his quarterback and it was unfair to blame the playoff loss on him. Any woman would be lucky to be loved by Owens the way he loved his former Cowboy quarterback.
10 Hated - Martin Gramatica
Martin Gramatica did not have a well known football career by any means, especially since he played one of the least violent positions in the sport. Gramatica was an average kicker during his nine years in the league and was mostly remembered for his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After stints in Indianapolis and New England, Gramatica found himself kicking in the playoffs for the Dallas Cowboys during the 2006 season.
The Cowboys played the Seattle Seahawks in a Wild Card playoff game that was quite entertaining. The game was back and forth with the Cowboys looking to take the lead with just over a minute to play. When Romo led the team down the field, it came time for Gramatica to kick the go ahead field goal. When the ball was snapped to Romo, he dropped the ball and essentially ended the season for the Dallas Cowboys. Gramatica could have been known as a playoff savior for the Cowboys, but is barely remembered because of a blunder by the former quarterback.
9 Loved - DeMarcus Ware
Demarcus Ware is arguably the best defensive player in Cowboy history holding the all-time Cowboy record for sacks with 117. Ware was drafted by the Cowboys in 2005 and spent nine of his thirteen year career in Dallas. He was the vocal and physical leader for the Cowboys on the defensive side of the ball and often challenged Romo’s offense to make a play when his defense would come off the field.
After nine seasons with the Cowboys, Ware joined the Denver Broncos in hope of achieving the ultimate goal. Following a stellar season for the Broncos in 2015, Ware was finally able to hold up the Vince Lombardi Trophy as a champion. However, he admitted the feeling was bittersweet because he couldn't enjoy it with his old teammates. He wanted guys like Jason Witten and Tony Romo who he went to war with for years to feel the success that he felt, even if it was just for one night.
8 Hated - Dez Bryant
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant always seemed to have a love/hate relationship depending on if the team was winning. Bryant was always known to be passionate when it came to football and sometimes took it a bit too far when it came to his teammates. Bryant has caught 67 career touchdowns including a career high of 16 during the 2014 season. He has brought relevancy that the Dallas receiving core has lacked since Michael Irvin’s reign in the 90’s.
Unfortunately, Romo and Bryant’s on field success wasn’t enough to stop some sideline arguments that caught hold of national media. Often times when Bryant felt he wasn’t being targeted enough, he would get into the face of his quarterback and make it known he was unhappy. It even got to the point where the two had to be separated a few times in the midst of a game. Whether it speaks to Bryant’s character or his relationship with Romo, the two must be glad that their working relationship is over.
7 Loved - Brandon Weeden
Weeden was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and became the oldest player to be selected in the first round. Like most Cleveland Browns quarterbacks, Weeden fell flat on his face and was released after just two seasons. With very few offers from other teams, Weeden signed with the Cowboys as a free agent to back up Tony Romo. If it had not been for injuries in two consecutive seasons for Romo, Weeden may still be looking for NFL action.
Romo gave Weeden a chance to resurrect his career once he went down with back and collarbone injuries. Once again, Weeden proved he was not worth the team’s time and was released following the 2015 season. Weeded might have Romo simply for the injuries that gave him playing time instead of any type of actual friendship.
6 Hated - Drew Bledsoe
Drew Bledsoe is responsible for two quarterbacks becoming superstars who were behind him on the depth chart. Bledsoe was the first overall pick of the 1993 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He spent nine seasons with the team as a starter until Tom Brady took the job from him in the second game of the 2001 season. If Bledsoe didn’t get injured that game, there might not be the legacy that is the five time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
After a three year stint with the Buffalo Bills, Bledsoe signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2005. After an average first season with the team, he was benched for Tony Romo just six games into the season and never started in the league again. Instead of sucking up his pride and backing up Romo, Bledsoe announced his retirement from the league at the end of the 2006 season.
5 Loved - Miles Austin
Very few people in the NFL would know the name Miles Austin had the Dallas Cowboys not taken a stab at him. Austin was an underrated rookie out of Monmouth before the Cowboys gave him a shot on their Special Teams unit. He made the most of his opportunity and found himself as an outside receiver for Tony Romo’s offense. In 2009, Austin had a career receiving year when he tallied 81 catches for 1,320 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
Austin and Romo’s friendship was made public in 2011 when pictures surfaced of the two together at Romo’s wedding. Despite their off the field friendship, their on-field chemistry fizzled and Austin was released from the Cowboys in 2014. He now works for the Cowboys as a member of the Dallas Cowboys scout team.
4 Hated - Martellus Bennett
Martellus Bennett has spent nine seasons in the NFL with four different teams during that span. Bennett was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft, but saw little success with the team. Bennett caught just 85 passes and 4 touchdowns during his four year run in Dallas. He went on to become a successful tight end for other team’s, but could not find a groove behind starter Jason Witten. This led to Bennett starting drama inside the Cowboys’ locker room.
In an interview after leaving Dallas, Bennett said in an interview that he did not like the way Witten played the tight end position. Whether it was jealousy or actual hatred towards Witten’s playing style, Bennett made it known he wasn’t supportive towards his former teammates. The icing on the cake for Bennett was during a radio interview in 2010, when he said that backup quarterback Jon Kitna deserved to fight for the starting job when Romo came back from injury. Not many position players would stick up for a backup quarterback over the starter unless there was some type of animosity between the two.
3 Loved - Terence Newman
Terence Newman and Tony Romo grew up together on the Dallas Cowboys, spending eight seasons together before Newman was released. Newman was the 5th overall selection of the 2003 NFL draft and proved to be a stellar outside corner for much of his tenure in Dallas. Once released from Dallas, Newman spent three years in Cincinnati and now will most likely will retire as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
Terence Newman has always spoken highly of the Cowboys organization since his departure. Newman still remains close to Tony Romo and Jason Witten to this day and even spoke on Tony Romo’s press conference regarding Dak Prescott taking over the Cowboys quarterback job. Newman told the press that it was hard for him to watch that and Romo was always a true professional.
2 Hated - Greg Hardy
Not many people got along with Greg Hardy as it is, so it is understandable why he would be on this list. Hardy was a 6th round selection in the 2010 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers and quickly exceeded team expectations. In 2013, Hardy totaled 15 sacks and helped the Panthers lead the league in sacks with 60. After multiple Domestic Assault charges were filed against Hardy, he was released from the Panthers and signed with the Cowboys in 2015.
After serving his suspension, Hardy proved to be more of a distraction than any type of service to the team. He would often show up late to meetings and tirade on the sidelines after the offense would come up short on a drive. Hardy even got into an altercation with receiver Dez Bryant after becoming frustrated with the offense during a game in October of 2015.
1 1. Loved - Sean Lee
Doesn’t it seem like Tony Romo and Sean Lee have spent more time together in the rehab facility than on the football field? All jokes aside, when healthy Sean Lee is one of the top linebackers in the league. Just last year, Lee was voted as a First-team All-Pro with 145 total tackles. He has helped maintain a strong linebacking core for the Cowboy defense since the departure of Demarcus Ware.
Romo and Lee have always spoken highly of each other throughout their careers and been vocal about each others talents. With all of the time they spend together at physical therapy, it makes sense for them to have had such a close bond. Just this past season, Romo showed displeasure with the league when Lee did not get voted into the Pro Bowl. Romo also said he thought Sean Lee was the best linebacker in the league. It must have been devastating for Sean Lee when Tony left him to join the broadcasting team at CBS.