Tony Romo's career as a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys will end Thursday. Multiple reports indicate he will be cut as free agency begins.
And if you want to see the matching bookends to his potential Hall of Fame career, you need to look no further than Seattle, Washington. It's where he first really showed up on the NFL map. And it's where his career with the Cowboys essentially came to an end.
Romo took over as the Cowboys' starter for former Washington State Cougar Drew Bledsoe midway through the 2006 season. When you're the starting signal caller for America's Team, there is always a spotlight. But the Cowboys had not won a playoff game in ten years, and the hope was Romo could be the guy who got them over the hump.
After a 3-3 start that season, Romo started the final ten games. The Cowboys went 6-4 down the stretch and snuck into the playoffs as a wild card and a date with the defending NFC Champion Seahawks in Seattle.
It looked like Romo was finally going to get Cowboys fans that playoff win that had eluded them since the days of Troy Aikman. He drove the Cowboys downfield in the final minutes to set up for what would be a game-winning 20-yard field goal.
Then, the play Seahawks and Cowboys fans can never forget. Romo, who also served as the holder on kicks, bobbled the snap. Romo scrambled, trying to get the one yard he would need for a first down. But he was stopped just short, and the Seahawks held on to win.
That moment began a dichotomy for Romo's career. For years, he was considered one of the top quarterbacks in the league. But he also gained a reputation for choking in big moments. In the final four minutes of games when the Cowboys were tied or trailing, Romo completed 62% of his passes and threw 30 touchdowns, but with 15 interceptions.
He got the Cowboys to the playoffs three more times, winning a wild card game in two of them but never making it to the Super Bowl.
Fast forward to this past preseason. During a meaningless game in August at CenturyLink Field, Romo was tackled on the first drive by Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril. Romo went down and stayed down for several minutes.
Romo broke a bone in his back.
Rookie Dak Prescott's career began, and he led the Cowboys back to the playoffs.
Romo would not play a meaningful snap for Dallas again. Yes, he played one series in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Cowboys had already wrapped up home field advantage. It was almost as if he was playing in the preseason again.
So when you think about it, the Tony Romo everyone has come to know and love (or loathe) as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys started and ended in Seattle.