ESPN.com‘s Matt Mosley, recently interviewed former Cowboy’s assistant Tony Sparano and the subject was none other than Tony Romo.
Apparently, Sparano’s eyes lit up when Tony Romo’s name came up. If you recall, Sparano was calling plays for the Cowboys when Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe six games into the 2006 season. Asked whether he knew if Romo was truly ready to be the starter at that point, Sparano had this to say:
“We knew when we put Romo in, yeah,” Sparano said. “Honestly at that point with Tony, every time you put him in a game something good happened.
“We had a lot of experience with him, more than we have with our quarterback right now in Chad Henne. We had Tony a couple of years in the preseason and Tony got a lot of playing time that way. Nothing against Drew Bledsoe at the time, but you could just see where we were. We were 3-3 I believe … and it was just the right time.”
At this point, I asked Sparano if Romo’s one of those players coaches needed to stay on top of in terms of limiting mistakes.
“Tony is a pretty easy guy to coach,” Sparano said. “He’s an intelligent guy and he really is a competitor. If you’re walking down the hall with Tony Romo, he’s going to try to beat you to the door. It was always easy to motivate Tony from my end.”
Sparano goes on to say how Bill Parcells felt that it was important to “coach Romo all the way through the game.”
He also said that Parcells would constantly stay on top of Romo and had to keep reminding him of what it took to finally get into a game, and continued this even after Romo achieved a level of celebrity.
With both Parcells and Sparano out of the picture, Romo’s celebrity status soared beyond anyone’s expectations. From Carrie Underwood to Jessica Simpson and everyone in between, Romo’s obviously not your typical blue collar guy.
Parcells and Sparano sensed this in him and tried to keep his flair for celebrity status subdued and somewhat grounded.
One thing is for sure though, it won’t be so easy to smooth talk his way out of another season where the Cowboys fail to make the post season. As they say in Texas, “It’s put up or shut-up time.”
In the end, football is about making the post season and going to the big show. All the charm in the world won’t keep people from second guessing our quarterback if the Cowboys don’t get off to a great start next season. While everyone places Wade Phillips and even Jerry Jones on the hot seat, Tony Romo could find his name next to theirs if he don’t start minimizing the mistakes and focusing on the big picture.