In Deion Sanders vs. Tony Romo, here's why we're backing Number 9
If you've been a Dallas Cowboys fan as long as I have then you're well versed in the defense of Tony Romo.
You've likely fought out of many-a-corner against motivated haters. The Cowboys are America's team and that means they're America's favorite target.
I get it. People hate winners. The trouble is, the Cowboys have changed their identity and no one seemed to notice. They're still hated like winners despite their lack of winning. To be a Cowboys fan in 2017 is to be in constant internal-conflict.
Adversity breeds nothing if not resilience. And living in New England, surrounded by opposing fan-bases, I've had my fair share of adversity. It's been a lonely fight but a fight that I'm proud of nonetheless.
So when I hear scathing words coming from inside the organization, it hurts. It hurts bad. It's how I felt when Martellus Bennett said he hated Jason Witten. And that's how I felt when I listened to Deion Sanders insult Tony Romo this weekend.
Now I get it. It was all in good fun. Ha ha ha. Unacceptable!! There is a zero tolerance policy for insulting Romo. The wound is too fresh. The nerves are too raw.
In fairness, Romo started it. During the Sunday broadcast of Dallas vs. Kansas City, Romo took a jab at the Hall-of-Fame corner. Following a missed tackle by the Chief's Marcus Peters, Romo had this to say:
"(Peters) is really good out there at the corner off-coverage, but in tackling? He makes Deion Sanders look good at tackling sometimes."
That's that charm that we've grown to know and love. A little colorful poke among friends. But Deion simply couldn't let it go. He had to fire back at poor Tony, bringing up two taboo subjects.
Playoff records and gold jackets.
After admitting that he "doesn't know the address to the high road," (it's called GPS Deion... ever heard of it?) Sanders went in on Romo.
"Ten years as a starter, you're 2-4 in the playoffs. You ain't won nothing." He continued, "Come on man, you know you never won the big one. You know you never won the big one."
Okay, first of all: playoff wins are a team stat. And Deion always had one heck of a team around him.
In his 1995 Super Bowl win with the 49ers, Steve Young threw six touchdown passes. Six. Jerry Rice - yes, the Jerry Rice - caught three of them on his way to 149 yards receiving. Needless to say, both men are Hall-of-Famers.
Sanders did get an interception in the 4th quarter, but he was responsible for zero of the 49 points scored. Case closed.
Then, Sanders joined the likes of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin on the Cowboys. Ever heard of them?! Hall-of-Famers, each one. His team won another super bowl by multiple scores.
Now Romo does have a 2-4 playoff record, that part is true. But the argument can be made that he had more of an impact in his years with the Cowboys than Sanders did in his. It's the same positional bias that garners all the criticsm when failure occurs.
But it didn't stop there. Sanders poked fun at Romo's forced-retirement and interception-heavy 2012 season.
"Dak says hi. And bye," Sanders said with a smile. "Nineteen (interceptions) in 2012, come on man, you threw to everybody but me."
Did Tony Romo have the perfect career? Of course not. Was Deion Sanders a famously bad tackler. Yes he was. The two statements can co-exist. And in all the lashing out agianst Romo's accolades, Sanders never addressed the basis of the joke.
Classic deflection, Deion.
Triggered? You bet I am. I'm conditioned to lash out when anyone comes at my guy. It's the diehard fan in me, and I refuse to apologize.
My dad - the biggest Cowboys fan I know - used to call him "Baby Deion Sanders" for his antics. It's one of my earliest memories associated with this team. Well, it seems that nothing has changed.