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Romo Keeps Sending The Wrong Message

In putting together for our list of six non-playoff teams in 2008 that could make it to the postseason in 2009, we carefully considered whether the Cowboys should be on the list. Whether they made it will be unveiled as soon as the column as posted. But getting to the playoffs and winning their first postseason game since the evening before my 12-year-old son was baptized are two different propositions. To actually have success in the playoffs, the Cowboys need to achieve a higher level of desire, passion, and commitment than they have displayed of late. It starts, in our view, with the quarterback. And with the current quarterback spending a portion of the offseason trying to qualify for the U.S. Open, we think that the Cowboys still have a long way to go. In our view, it’s one thing to play a round of golf for relaxation purposes. It’s quite another to dilute a guy’s total pool of competitive juices by finding something else about which to be competitive that isn’t football. Besides, what would Tony Romo have done if he had managed to qualify for the U.S. Open? The tournament starts on June 18 -- the same day that a full-squad minicamp ends. As Hall of Famer Troy Aikman pointed out earlier this year, perception is reality when it comes to an NFL quarterback. The head coach can only do so much to lead a team; once the players are on the field, they need a guy who’s wearing the uniform to provide genuine leadership. And that job falls to the quarterback. So the issue isn’t whether the public believes that Romo might not be sufficiently committed to the cause -- it’s whether his teammates do. In Dallas, the fact that Romo decided to spend part of his offseason trying to qualify for a golf tournament that apparently would have kept him from participating in all or part of a key preseason training session tells the other plays all they need to know: Romo doesn’t have the same burning passion and desire to win that characterizes a true franchise quarterback. Then again, we can understand why Romo likes golf -- the chips shots are never preceded by a fumbled snap.