Tony Romo(notes) gets a lot of grief just because he is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. I guarantee, if he played for Cleveland or Seattle or Kansas City, they would love him. And it isn’t just because those teams are bad and need quarterbacks to fix them ASAP. Even if he played for a team like San Francisco, where greatness is measured by names like Joe Montana and Steve Young, I think Romo would be accepted wholeheartedly.
However, being a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys means something completely different.
In the beginning…
Eddie LeBaron was the first quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, chosen in the expansion draft away from the Washington Redskins. LeBaron was a good quarterback but Dallas was a new team and had some growing to do. That is when they found a quarterback named Don Meredith. When Dandy Don broke out with Dallas in 1962, the fans ate him up. Meredith was exactly what a Dallas Cowboys quarterback was supposed to be like. He never won a Super Bowl, but Dallas loved him all the same. His career was short lived, only playing till 1968, and Dallas needed a new hero.
Craig Morton was expected to be that man but Dallas fans never warmed to him. By 1969, he was the starter at Dallas and was serviceable. He was actually more than serviceable. He took Dallas to a Super Bowl in 1970, which the Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas. Dallas fans should be happy to be in the Super Bowl, but they wanted more and demanded a change. Tom Landry was not quick to give them the change even with a man named Roger Staubach on the roster. He kept flip-flopping between them but finally pulled the trigger and brought in Staubach because some people believed Morton couldn’t get them back to the Super Bowl. In 1977, Morton did make it back with Denver and lost to Staubach and the Cowboys.
After Staubach hung it up in 1979, Danny White took over at quarterback. He led Dallas to three straight NFC Championship games but the Cowboys were older and slowing down. Landry was not refilling the tank as well as he used to and White was left with Tony Dorsett and an aging receiver corps to play with. White had a great statistical career, throwing for over 3,000 yards four times. Despite his solid play, Dallas was slipping and Landry wanted a replacement. He tried Gary Hogeboom and Steve Pelluer, both of whom were nowhere near as good as White. Finally, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys and drafted a man named Troy Aikman.
When Aikman’s career ended early, Dallas was looking for their next big star. It never took long in the past. LeBaron lasted two years, Morton a few more than that, and Danny White through much of the ’80s. With the exception of the times that Landry tried to replace White, Dallas had five quarterbacks over their first 27 years. However, after Aikman retired, Dallas lost their way. Quincy Carter led to Chad Hutchinson to Vinny Testeverde to Drew Hensen to Drew Bledsoe. Finally, in 2006 Dallas found their quarterback in Tony Romo. People who complain about him now need to remember what it was like from 2001-2005. Romo wins games and almost any team in the league would kill for that consistency.
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