By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Some news broke — sort of — on Thursday morning, when ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Tony Romo is expecting to be released (not traded) from the Cowboys this offseason.
Romo, according to Werder, still believes he’s got gas left in the tank, and he wants to be a starting NFL quarterback for the next two or three years.
The next piece of news, if football gods really do exist, has to link Romo and the New York Jets.
It just has to happen.
For us, first and foremost. But maybe for Tony too.
You know what? We’ll get to Tony later. For now, let’s focus on us, we who enjoy sitting on the couch and being entertained by the goings-on of the sports men on the television. A variety of reasons have led to Romo becoming a lightning rod of a figure over the years. Everything he’s done on and off the field has typically generated an inordinate amount of debate and banter, the likes of which you don’t often see this side of Tom Brady. Whether it’s vacationing in Cabo or who he’s dating or fumbling a snap on a field-goal attempt or throwing a back-breaking interception or literally breaking his back, Romo’s been in the news cycle consistently for a solid decade.
Ever since he wrested the starting job from Drew McQueen Bledsoe, Romo has stood squarely in the national spotlight.
So it only makes sense, logically, for Romo to leave the most football-obsessed place in the world and seamlessly step right into the media capital of the world. It’s only fair.
In fact, the pressure of being the Jets’ starting quarterback is likely a lot less than what Romo is used to. In Dallas, there’s an insane level of attention, with the additional weight of lofty expectations. In Florham Park? Winning a couple of games in September might warrant a parade.
That’s enticing on its own, but really, when looking around the league at teams that need a quarterback, is there anywhere that’s a markedly better option than the Jets? Cleveland? San Francisco? Chicago? Buffalo?
Boring, boring, boring, boring. Tony lives for those bright lights. New York can deliver.
Granted, the Jets are coming off a 5-11 season and may well spend next year in the toilet as well. Perpetually being a mess has kind of become their trademark ever since they flirted with success early in the Rex Ryan era many moons ago. Maybe Todd Bowles doesn’t have the strongest grasp of his job. Maybe Darrelle Revis is occupying a large chunk of the salary cap without actually being a productive player. Brandon Marshall may be slightly unreliable at times. There may currently be three quarterbacks already on the roster and two set to be on the roster for next year, even after Ryan Fitzpatrick’s contract was voided.
But come on — this is nothing new for Tony. He’s been in Dallas, through Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips and Terrell Owens and a pair of pick-sixes on a Monday night and playoff losses and, through it all, the presence of Jerry Jones. What’s a little dysfunction between a team and a quarterback?
Obviously, writing this story from a New England perspective, there’s an air of selfishness to it. But the reality is from a wider perspective, the football world could use an injection of life into the dormant Patriots-Jets rivalry. With the Butt Fumble tape now collecting dust in every film library, the teams are overdue to play some games that actually mean something — or at least feel like they mean something.
Much like when Brett Favre parachuted his way into the Jets organization as a 39-year-old in 2008, a 37-year-old Romo is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to reviving the rivalry. What sentient human would ever intentionally avoid tuning in to watch Romo and the Jets take on the defending champions on a Sunday night?
Silly people, that’s who. It would be a ratings bonanza. I know it. You know it. Tony Romo knows it.
So make it happen, Tony. What else are you going to do? Are you going to go to Cleveland? Come on. You’re not a Cleveland guy. Plus, the Browns allowed 66 sacks last season. Is that a place where you can stay healthy? Are you going to go to San Francisco? The Niners gave up the third-most sacks, and their receiving corps is … not what you’re looking for.
There’s only one choice — for Tony, but more importantly, for us — that makes sense.
Tony Romo. No. 9. New York Jets.
Make it happen.