It’s still too soon.
Rangers fans wanted that World Series championship SO MUCH. I would say you couldn’t have wanted it more than the Rangers themselves, but most of you have been Rangers fans longer than the Rangers have been Rangers. It meant a lot. Just ask my buddy, Rangers announcer Eric Nadel, who after 33 years is wondering if he’ll ever get another chance.
The pain is too great because it was too close, so this is no time to determine a Rangers’ legacy. All anyone can think of now is what didn’t happen. It’ll take some time for most folks to have full appreciation for what did (see: Buffalo Bills).
But the legacy of last season’s Mavericks should not have depended on winning the title, although winning it certainly wrote a different ending. Same with the Rangers. The legacy of this Rangers team is getting to not one, but TWO World Series. So far.
Which gets us to the Cowboys and Tony Romo.
The Cowboys have their legacy, five championships (so far) and eight Super Bowl appearances. Their absence from the biggest spotlight for 15 years is certainly cause for conversation, even consternation, but it does not change the legacy. The Cowboys may have to live up to the current level of performance of the Rangers and Mavericks (seriously, if you’re over 30, did you ever think you’d read that sentence), but everyone else is still chasing the legacy the Cowboys have written.
November 6 celebrated some individual Cowboy legacies. The addition of Drew Pearson, Charles Haley and Larry Allen to the Ring of Honor does more than call attention to the exploits of those three. It serves as a reminder of the greatest moments of their Ring of Honor Teammates: Landry and Schramm. Aikman, Irvin and Smith. Harris, Hayes, Howley, Jordan, Lilly, Perkins, Renfro, Staubach, Wright, White and Dorsett.
And Don Meredith.
Which really gets me to Tony Romo.
Don’t jump to conclusions. I’m not putting Romo in the Ring next to Dandy Don. Although he is statistically more prolific. But at a time when we’re thinking of legacies, of Nowitzki and these Rangers and the new members of the Ring of Honor, one is drawn to pondering whither Romo.
His legacy is nowhere near written. At 31 he ought to just be coming into his best quarterbacking days. But part of Romo’s burden is the difficulty of being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. There are two Hall of Famers, multiple champions, not only staring down at him through history and from the walls of Cowboys Stadium but active, visible and beloved in their community.
Interestingly, Romo is asked (although seldom directly) to live up to Staubach and Aikman. Not to Danny White, who followed Staubach, had his team in the conference championship his FIRST THREE YEARS AS A STARTER, which I’m not sure has ever been done. But White never took the last step, and thus—Was Guilty Of Not Being Roger Staubach!
All of them have heard the boo birds at Texas Stadium. But no one so successful has been so publicly vilified as Tony Romo. Not since Don Meredith.
I’ve thought for years Meredith was the Cowboy quarterback who Romo most resembled. Happy go lucky, live-life-to-its-fullest types. Much more competitive than people thought because of that personality. If ball caps had been in vogue in the 60s, guaranteed Meredith would have worn his backwards. But he loved football and desperately wanted to win.
Same as Romo.
Meredith’s entire career was before I started covering the Cowboys. But people who were close to it still shake their heads at the merciless way the public treated him for, apparently, teasing them with amazing talent and then making some inexplicable mistake.
Meredith, many think, was simply hounded into retirement (at age 31, same as Romo is now) by newspapers and the public. Romo has to handle You Tube, the internet, camera phones, TMZ and talk radio. It’s an honor being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys but it comes with its built in curses.
Thankfully, Meredith’s accomplishments were recognized enough for him to be in the Ring of Honor. That becomes his legacy, one he earned.
He never deserved the degree of public wrath he felt, nor does Romo. But as Clint Eastwood told Gene Hackman in The Unforgiven, when Hackman insisted he didn’t deserve to die, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”