Antonio Ramiro Romo born April 21, 1980 is an American football television analyst and former quarterback who played 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Eastern Illinois University, where he won the Walter Payton Award in 2002, and led the Panthers to an Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2001.
He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys in 2003. Beginning his career as a holder, Romo became the Cowboys’ starting quarterback during the 2006 season. Serving as the team’s primary starter from 2006 to 2015, he guided the Cowboys to four postseason appearances and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. Romo retired after the 2016 season, following a preseason back injury that caused him to lose his starting position to Dak Prescott. Upon retiring, he was hired by CBS Sports to become the lead color analyst for their NFL telecasts, teaming with Jim Nantz in the broadcast booth.
Romo holds several Cowboys team records, including passing touchdowns, passing yards, most games with at least 300 passing yards, and games with three or more touchdown passes. He also held a higher passer rating in the fourth quarter than any other NFL quarterback from 2006 to 2013. However, Romo’s reputation was affected by a lack of postseason success, having won only two of the six playoff games he appeared in and never advancing beyond the divisional round. His 97.1 passer rating is the fourth highest of all time and the highest among quarterbacks not to reach the Super Bowl, as well as the highest among retired players.
Romo started strong in the 2015 season, throwing a game-winning pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left in the Cowboys’ season opener against the New York Giants. He continued to show success in a week 2 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, but suffered a broken left collarbone in the third quarter after being sacked by linebacker Jordan Hicks. The injury sidelined Romo for eight weeks, during which the Cowboys failed to win a single game with Brandon Weeden and then Matt Cassel starting at quarterback.
Romo returned to the starting lineup in a week 11 game against the Miami Dolphins. Despite throwing two interceptions, he completed 18 of 28 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns in a 24–14 victory, ending the Cowboys’ seven-game losing streak.
The Cowboys then faced the 10–0 Carolina Panthers in a week 12 Thanksgiving game. Although up against an undefeated team and holding only a 3–7 record, the Romo-led Cowboys were favored to win and still had hopes for the playoffs in a weak NFC East division. However, Romo threw three interceptions in the first half, two of which were returned for touchdowns, helping the Panthers take a 23–3 lead. At the end of the third quarter, Romo was sacked by linebacker Thomas Davis, reinjuring his left shoulder and ending his season. Romo remained on the active roster until December 21 when he was placed on injured reserve after the Cowboys dropped to 4–10, officially ending their playoff hopes.
Romo was unable to start in the 2016 regular season after suffering a compression fracture to the L1 vertebra in his back during the Cowboys’ third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. The injury caused him to miss the first 10 games of the season, with the duties of the team’s starting quarterback being assumed by rookie Dak Prescott.
Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones initially said Romo would remain the team’s starter when he returned, Prescott’s success with the team and the length of Romo’s injury led to Jones reconsidering his decision. Amid Prescott guiding the team to an eight-game winning streak, Romo conceded his role as starting quarterback to Prescott and began serving as the Cowboys’ backup when he returned to the active roster in Week 11. Romo made his season debut in the regular season finale on January 1, 2017, against the Philadelphia Eagles. In what would prove to be the final play of his career, he threw a touchdown pass to Terrance Williams before Mark Sanchez played the rest of the game.
On April 4, 2017, Romo announced his retirement from the NFL. After announcing his retirement, he was released by the Cowboys, per his request. Following his retirement, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced that Romo would be a “Maverick for a day” for the Mavericks’ final home game of their 2016–17 season. He warmed up with the team and sat in full uniform on the bench, but did not play in the game and was not considered an official member of the roster.