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Garrett’s Relationship with Tony Romo is Perfectly Calculated

Jason Garrett

What started out as a kooky idea, something downright “embarrassing” as Tony Romo described it, turned into a really fun night for the quarterback, fans of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Dallas Mavericks. Romo suited up for an NBA team, not to play, but to get some closure and a standing ovation. Those were things he never got to experience with the Cowboys.

Now that the silliness (even though it turned out to be pretty cool) is over with, we can get back to football. Even though Romo hasn’t officially turned in his retirement papers, this should be the end of the saga. Unless, of course, Dak Prescott suffers a serious injury before the season begins, then the circus might be back in town.

One of the people who attended game on Tuesday to support “9,” as they kept putting on social media, was none other than head coach Jason Garrett. Ironically, it was Garrett who has been the most distant throughout the process with Romo, prompting most to suggest there was a rift between the two. Romo has rarely spoken about Garrett in the past week and we didn’t hear much from the coach on his star pupil, besides the small statement he put out after the retirement/release.

The two used to be very close, so what gives?

Perhaps Romo felt there wasn’t enough support from Garrett during the season when Prescott took over. Perhaps it was because Garrett felt blindsided by Romo’s impromptu speech in November about stepping aside for Dak. Maybe it was a combination of these things and more.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Here is the reality of the situation, the Dallas Cowboys have a new quarterback and they are moving forward. The Garrett/Romo relationship is not relevant because Romo is no longer a member of the Cowboys.

There’s a certain coldness to professional football, after all, it’s a business. Garrett cannot allow sentimentality to get in the way of preparing the team to win games. It’s nice that owner Jerry Jones can be friends and canoodle with many of his favorite players, but the coach doesn’t have time for that luxury. Someone has to keep their head down and keep moving forward, an area that is a major problem for Jones.

It seems like a harsh stance to take, but as the saying goes, ‘this isn’t show friends, its show business.’ Garrett is taking a disciplined approach and cannot get caught up in feelings; he praised Romo in his statement last week and has moved on. This is no time to be emotional or to go head over heels when the player you’d be praising isn’t going to be in Dallas. Now is the time to support your starting quarterback and to help rally your team around the guy who will be leading the Cowboys.

Disagree all you want, but what would New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick do?

Garrett is trying to establish a winning culture, one that preaches the team over individuals (remember: the team, the team, the team). We all know it’s tough to watch Tony Romo leave the Cowboys, especially without a Super Bowl ring, but Garrett is trying to make sure the championship drought doesn’t continue. To do that, he has to be looking forward and focusing on the players currently on the team.

The relationship between Tony Romo and Jason Garrett may not be as strong as it once was, but for good reason. The head coach only needs to concern himself with the Dallas Cowboys who will take the field this season. That doesn’t include Romo.

Move on, or fall behind, that’s the cold, hard truth of life in the NFL. Thankfully, Jason Garrett understands this principle.

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Senior Analyst at SportsTalkLine
Writer for ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Lets talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi

  • StillHateTheGiants

    Garrett can certainly be criticized for some of his game day decisions over the years but in terms of these types of decisions I can’t think of one he’s messed up. The type of atmosphere he creates and the cold blooded approach he seems to take to personnel decisions seem very Belichick/Parcels/Noll like to me.

    • Kevin Black

      People can’t get past the three 8-8 seasons. Not sure why. The team was absolutely putrid outside of Romo and Ware. Actually, the defense wasn’t terrible, but the OL had the nickname ‘The Colander’. Romo was basically running for his life and the RBs had no room to run. But everyone focused on Romo and Garrett. Quite honestly, those teams were lucky to win more than four (4) games, yet somehow Romo and Garrett were able to keep them relevant and actually have a chance at the end of the season to get into the playoffs. That’s some fine coaching and QB play there.

      • McShrek

        The defenses were franchise-worst defenses from 201o-2013………..close to all-time league worst D’s; they set the record for first downs allowed versus the Saints in a game during that era.

  • McShrek

    The very best article on breaking down who the best QB in Cowboy history has been…………please note Romo’s numbers on his 2-4 playoff record………..

    “So finally after all of these stats here is how I rank the great QBs in Dallas Cowboy history.”

    1. Roger Staubach- He was easily the best QB of the 1970’s. As shown above he led the league in passer rating in half the seasons he played and to top it all off he was a dropped pass away from being a three time SB champion. Even after all these years and rule changes regarding the passing game he still has the 2nd highest QB rating in Dallas Cowboys history. If he played under today’s rules I believe 100% that he would put up numbers identical to Rodgers or Brady. I give him the nod over Romo because I believe that he was a better leader than Romo and likely would have done a better job handling personalities like Terrell Owens and Wade Phillips.

    2. Tony Romo- He ends his career with the 4th highest QB rating in history and is inside the top 30 all time in passing touchdowns and yards. As shown above he was never outside the top ten in passer rating in any season he played and was consistently one of the most efficient QBs of his era. As far as passer rating goes only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady had a better average ranking during 2006-2014. Also as shown above he usually did not have the defensive or rushing help that Aikman or Staubach had, and just as soon as the running game and defense were rebuilt his body gave out on him. I fully believe that if you put Romo on those 1970’s or 1990’s Dallas teams that he would have been a 2 to 3 time champion as well. He’s an easy Ring of Honor inductee, but his lack of post season success, injury woes, and the short length of his career will likely keep him out of the NFL hall of fame. Talent wise he absolutely belongs there, but fate didn’t have it in the cards for him.

    3. Troy Aikman- When the Cowboys were great Troy was great, but when they weren’t that great he wasn’t either. His first two seasons were bad but that can hardly be held against him since the 1989 Cowboys were horrible and the 1990 Cowboys were still building. When the pieces were put in place he was very good from 1991-1995, but during the final half of his career he was pretty much a mediocre QB. He was a great leader and held the team together for a final championship in 1995 after Johnson left. He upped his game in the post season and that is what deservedly got him into the hall of fame. I gave Romo the nod over Troy because I believe that if you put Romo on those early 1990s teams that Dallas has the same success, but I don’t believe Troy would have kept the 2011-2013 Cowboys relevant or had any more success overall than Romo did. Romo was the more gifted QB and compared better to his peers over his entire career than Troy did. Both of them had injury woes that kept them out of a lot of games as well.

    4. Danny White- Danny had a short career, only six years starting the majority of games for Dallas, but he was very good during that time period. As shown above he was a top ten QB during his era and played in three straight NFC championship games before the defense fell apart after 1982. He should likely be inducted into the RoH at some point.

    • hardwater

      Hard to argue against statistics Shrek but the reality is QB’s, above all others and unique to their position, are paid to lead their teams to playoff glory and to make up for the other deficits on the team. The most recent example is Rodgers leading a less talented Green Bay team over the Cowboys this past season. Tom Brady does it every year with a team full of jags and the best coach in the game. I could never put Romo over Aikman simply due to the fact that when Aikman had the team to win he was brilliant and performed at the highest level resulting in 3 SB wins in a 4 year period. There is NO QB LESS THAN A TRUE HOF’er who does that. Unfortunately for Romo, the few good teams he had they screwed the pooch and he never really had a coach who could make a difference. Worse yet, as Romo appeared to mature and better avoid the catastrophic interception his body betrayed him.

      Staubach #1, Aikman #2, Romo and White tied at #3.

      • McShrek

        Think both of you confuse team goals with individual performance, Aikman had a terrific arm and was surgically accurate when the team was the best in the NFL, yet when you look at his numbers and contributions when they were mediocre, he was mediocre…..the 1996- through the end of his career mirrors what Romo endured most of his time as the starting QB (terrible HC, diminished suporting cast)…..but we fans tend to overlook his early struggles and his last five years (his TD to INT ratio is telling, even when he was at his apex)…… the end of the day Aikman has repeatedly been quoted that Romo was the better QB……..if Troy or Brady would have played behind the lines Romo played behind, they both would been long retired………..

        • hardwater

          Romo was in a pass happy gunslinger’s offense for much of his career. Troy was not. The fact remains that when the team was good Troy responded big time in a Hall of Fame way. It is a very short list of QB’s past and present who would not have responded as he did with 3 championships in 4 years. That list in the record books is very short and Troy is far from the only QB to have played on good teams. The real question is whether Romo would have won those same 3 championships. We’ll never know. But we do know Troy won his.

          • McShrek

            That is a more than fair represenation of Troy’s work, but then again, when the team was mediocre he was not able to raise the team beyond its shortcomings, which is exactly why Romo has been battered in the media for his entire career……Romo brought more skills to the QB position that did Troy, but Troy’s strenghts were perfect for the 90’s teams…..he fed Emmitt and hit Michael and Novacek on precise timing patterns.

          • Kevin Black

            Troy had a defense and an offense that was in the top 5 each of the SB years. Tony never had that. He had either one or the other. Troy himself says Tony is better. That’s enough for me. Troy knows what it takes as a QB and as a team. He mentioned on more than one occasion that Tony was capable of the SB, but the team he was on was not.

      • Jon B

        White 3 Romo 4. Tony never punted but I did see him bobble a certain snap in seattle.

        White won playoff games but lost to some all time great NFC teams. Tony’s playoff record is simply sad.

        Tony had great qb skills but in Dallas Super Bowls matter. Danny and Tony sadly never achieved the summit.

        • Kevin Black

          Sorry, but even White says Tony is better than he was. White was the starting QB for only five (5) years. Tony has ten (10) as the starter.

        • McShrek

          White had great teammates, very weak arm, although he was a student of the game……Don Meredith was a better QB than was Danny White, his long bombs to Bullet Bob revolutionized the game in the mid-sixties (brought about zone defenses)………..saw them both play, Meredith’s arm strength and leadership skills were very strong, why he and Landry had some dust-ups, as did Roger………. and Troy (with Jimmy), both asking for trades before becoming the full time starters.

    • Ben Grimaldi

      It was a well done piece…but I can’t take Romo over Aikman. In the grand scheme of things, Aikman would do whatever he had to win, if he played in this era of football, he’d have monster stats too if that’s what was asked of him. Few people are a bigger Romo apologist than me, but I can’t place him ahead of Troy.

  • Football Mensa

    No doubt you have to move on. I’m not sold on Garrett but that’s neither here nor there. Jerry screwed Romo over for years with his coaching hires and inept drafting. He should have released him so he could go to Houston. The fact that Jerry is worried about Romo in Houston , reeks.

    • Lee1936

      Yep. Romo was the best football player on the team for several years, a remarkable natural talent, who made his coaches and team mates look better than they actually were.
      But no man on Earth could, or ever will, carry Garrett’s JAGs plus JerryJ’s slugs to the Promised Land.

  • Kevin Black

    Remember when people said that Garrett’s close relationship to Romo would keep him from moving on when the time comes? People continue to underestimate Garrett.

    • Michael

      JG’s decision to go with Prescott changed my opinion of him for the better. The easy decision would have been to insert Romo back into the lineup and avoid upsetting Romo and his biggest benefactor, Jerry. Benching Romo was a gutsy move that paid off with Prescott equaling Romo’s best season as a Cowboy.

      Not only is Prescott more than capable of replacing Romo on the field, parting ways with Romo goes a long way towards balancing the Cowboys cap. For me, this move was about Garrett doing the right thing for the team over the long term, rather than acting like an offensive coordinator concerned about his unit’s performance year to year.

      • McShrek

        The fact that the team was on franchise long winning streak forced JG to stick with Dak, turning the team back to Romo would been way too risky and potentially destroying momentum and demotivating what appears to be the QB of the future……… the end of the day, (they lost) at home to the Packers, just like they were robbed in 2014 on the road at Lambeau Field, and in 2007 versus the Giants…….it is hard to fault Dak for getting down 18 points in the first quarter………although many have argued that Romo might have won that game at home………….we will never know….no longer relevant.

        • Michael

          It wasn’t Dak’s confidence that was at stake, it was the locker room and the team’s belief in the coaching staff that was on the line when Garrett denied Romo the chance to compete for the job.

          Witten had some revealing things to say about the locker room before the playoffs:

          “The best thing he’s [Dak] done is how he’s handled every situation within the communication side of it. It’s really hard to play that position, whether you’re playing Pee Wee or professional. To be able to make all the calls and checks at the line, he’s done a great job of that. He’s got a great ability. I think we all see that. But for him to be able to handle those situations with confidence and conviction, you gain respect of the locker room. That’s earned. Nobody can give you that, regardless of what your talent level is.”

          Read more here:”

          I do think Dak was caught off guard by the intensity of the playoff game against the Packers. It took him a quarter and a half or so to regain his poise, but when he did he brought enough to turn the momentum. I think that is a good sign for the future.

          • McShrek

            Witten is/was a Romo guy through and through, thus it was up to him to support Dak as the new guy going forward………if the team would not have been on that winning streak, the move back 2 Romo would have been natural and more than expected.

    • Lee1936

      Kevin, if you ever noticed my remarks on CN, you might think that I increasingly underestimate Garrett. But I don’t think so. He’s just not in the top 20 of the current NFL head coaches.
      You have to consider his Win-Loss record. Only a mother, or Jerry Jones, would keep him this long.
      Consider also that after these several years, he still has only one player on defense who is clearly above NFL average starter quality. JAGs, JAGs, JAG’s, as far as the eye can see on defense. Jeff Heath leads the team on interceptions, and probably on special teams tackles.

      • Kevin Black

        I know a lot of people don’t share my opinion and that’s fine. When the Cowboys went 8-8 for three seasons in a row, I think he did some of his best work. Those teams weren’t even worth four (4) wins a season and somehow he made them relevant and had a chance each year. During that time, he was rebuilding the team in the image of the teams he was associated with in the 90’s. It’s still a work in progress as we don’t have the bounty of stealing bonus picks from Minnesota that Jimmy Johnson had. Too bad Gregory couldn’t keep his head clear as I think he would have made a huge impact on the field last year, but you can’t focus on that, just move forward.

        What I find funny is how many people wanted Garrett out after three years of 8-8. So many people forget how bad Landry was in the early 60’s. Garrett has out-performed Landry and he didn’t get the luxury of starting from scratch with no expectations whatsoever. Yet if we showed that patience you suggest, Landry would never had the amazing run he did.

        Garrett has this team on the right path. They are one of the youngest teams in the league, and about to get younger, and are projected to be near the top of the NFL for the next few years. They have a roster that other teams envy now instead of the other way around. It took Garrett to get Jones to see the light. His game day work has improved to where he’s easily in the top 10 today. Is he Belichek? No. There’s only one of those. Not sure if I could name nine more coaches I’d want over Garrett.

        One more thing about the head coach of Dallas… how many out there would have the patience to deal with Jerry? Better thank your lucky stars that Garrett not only has it, he can persuade Jerry in ways no other coach could. Parcells was probably the last to do it and his patience ran thin after three (3) years.