When I was a kid, I grew up in a Giants household. I can remember to this day my dad making sure we went to Sunday mass early enough to be back in time for his New York football Giants at 1 p.m. He then could be seen sitting on the couch yelling in pure frustration and excitement from kickoff until the final snap of the game. He still does so.
My dad is a true Giants fan; he bleeds blue. So it’s quite something that he never pushed his fandom onto my brother and I. His example of not forcing us to, in this case, root for a team that we may or may not have necessarily felt invested in just because he was lives on with us. How so? My brother is a Packers cheesehead and I’m all in on Tom Brady and the Patriots.
I share this anecdote because I believe good people know when to allow others to grow on their own even if it could affect you positively or negatively. In my dad, he didn’t want my brother and I to think we had to be Giants fans. He instead allowed us to follow football if we wanted to and gravitate toward a team eventually. He didn’t say, “The Giants are who I support so you have to too.” This couldn’t have been more true when after the Patriots lost to the Giants in 2007, failing to complete a perfect season, and again in 2012. Both times were heartbreaking for me, but I was proud of my team anyway because my dad always made it a point to shake my hand and tell me, “Good game.”
Obviously we don’t play for either franchise, but sports has this innate ability to form a sense of comradery amongst peers and opposition. That’s what makes Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s statement all the more impressive. The name Romo means something, and he knows that. He could’ve easily whined and complained about how he’s Tony Romo and deserves to play after suffering a back injury in August preseason. He instead saw the situation he’s in with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys O-line leading Dallas to a 10-1 season so far. Romo knows deep, deep down you can’t mess with the chemistry they have. What’s going on with this team is special, and he said as much at his press conference. The cliché of “There’s no ‘I’ in team” couldn’t have a more perfect example than Romo.
“You see, football is a meritocracy,” Romo said as he read from his own prepared statement. “You aren’t handed anything, you earn everything, every single day, over and over again and you have to prove it. That’s the way the NFL, that’s the way that football works. A great example of this is Dak Prescott and what he’s done. He’s earned the right to be our quarterback, as hard as that is for me to say, he’s earned that right.”
Earn, prove, our… all words from someone who knows what it takes to be successful by working for it. No matter how disliked Romo is for being on “America’s team,” for the record I’ve always liked Romo, he’s proven and earned respect from a lot of people. I know for myself, his statement is a five-minute clip I’ll reference and share going forward.
“It’s in this moment you find out who you really are,” Romo said during his press conference, “and what you’re really about.”
Well, Mr. Romo, in my opinion, you’re a really great QB and an even better man. We haven’t seen the last of you yet.
Luke Kuechly and the Gruesome Part of Football (Jenny Vrentas, The MMQB)
I wrote in one of my columns that domestic violence is “most serious of NFL’s issues” right now. Concussions are ongoing for the future of the league and possibly the sport.
The Bucs Start Here (Albert Breer, The MMQB)
A wide-ranging and interesting column from Breer, as always.
Fade to Black? (Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated)
Man, I wish I’d written it down, but I predicted at the start of the season that the Raiders would be sneakily really good. I was thinking more like 6-4 , but 8-2, first place in the AFC West and serious Super Bowl contenders? I didn’t think they’d be this scary.
I asked Breer on Twitter how far he thinks they could possibly go come playoff time:
Can Aaron Rodgers Be the Type of Leader the Packers Need? (Tyler Dunne, Bleacher Report)
A compelling and damning look into what might be personally hindering Aaron Rodgers’s play on the field.
Peter King’s talk with Pathers’s head coach Ron Rivera is sweet and all, but me being a Communications major, the stuff he discusses with NFL Executive VP of Media Brian Rolapp is absolutely fascinating.
In light of writing about Romo’s statement, I thought why not listen to him some more and talking positive stuff.
Listen to who Rodney Harrison thinks the best NFL team is and then, barring any crazy news this weekend, I’ll write about my choice in the next Open Field. (This is the first time I’m revealing what I plan to post next.)