|Signed with Dallas as free agent|
|Had college uniform number retired|
|Won first playoff game|
|Became starting quarterback for Dallas|
|Won Walter Payton Award for best player in Division I-AA football|
Romo was born on April 21, 1980 in San Diego, CA, but the military brat grew up in Burlington, WI. He played football at Burlington High School before attending Division I-AA Eastern Illinois University, where he starred on the Panthers. Romo set both school and conference records, winning the Walter Payton Award for the best player in Division I-AA his senior year. Still, he went undrafted in 2003. Romo had received "feelers" from Dallas and Denver, indicating interest, but neither team elected to use a draft pick. Romo eventually signed with Dallas as a rookie free agent, which in the National Football League is not a secure position.
Romo's journey was not one of instant success. He spent a few seasons apprenticing behind starters like Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe. Romo replaced Bledsoe in 2006, starting his first game on Oct. 29. Number 9 won his first start decisively -- a 35-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers -- and was named Sunday Night Football's "Rock Star of the Game." That year, Romo helped lead Dallas into the playoffs, where they would lose a heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, Romo played just as big of a role in that loss. Romo, who also acted as the placeholder for extra-point kicks and field goals, could not corral the snap on a short field goal attempt late in the game and was tackled just shy of the goal line on a desperation scramble. Still, due to his stellar play during the season, Romo was voted to the Pro Bowl. Undeterred by the postseason loss, Romo signed a lucrative contract extension in 2007 worth $67.5 million over six years -- quite a raise for the previously undrafted player. Romo once again led the Cowboys to the playoffs again but lost once more, this time to division rivals the New York Giants.
The following year, in what must have felt like more of the same to Cowboys fans, Romo and Dallas had a strong regular season, but again fell short in the playoffs. This time they lost to another divisional opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. Analysts and fans began openly wondering if Romo was the person to bring a Super Bowl to "America's Team." Romo seemed determined to prove the naysayers wrong in 2009, not missing a single offensive play and setting a number of team records. He even carried Dallas over a virtual hump, winning his first playoff game against the Eagles -- though Dallas then lost in the next round.
Golf is one of Tony Romo's greatest passions. Romo is so talented, that his swing mechanics were deconstructed in the Nov. 2009 issue of Golf Digest. Romo competes in several tournaments a year, including the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he and playing partner Jordan Spieth finished third in 2013. In the past, Romo has attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open. Although he came very close in 2010, making a four-man playoff to qualify, Romo has publicly put golf on the back-burner to focus on football.
Romo and the Cowboys hoped to build on their little bit of momentum in the 2010 season, but they were left disappointed. On October 25, against the Giants, Romo broke his left clavicle. He was out for the season. The following year, he had a very strong campaign, despite breaking a rib, which led to a punctured lung in the second game of the season. In that game though, Romo demonstrated his toughness returning late and leading his team to an overtime victory. For a number of games after that incident, Romo wore a Kevlar vest to protect his body. The Cowboys hung on until the final week of the season, when they were eliminated from playoff contention. Despite another early playoff exit in 2012, Dallas showed its confidence in Romo by giving him another contract extension, this one for six years and $106 million.
Romo has a reputation for remaining even-keeled, even while under pressure. He understands the ebbs and flows of the game of football. This helps him weather controversy, be it in the media or on the field. Due to his high-profile job description, Romo was able to slip quite easily into the celebrity lifestyle. He has publicly dated well-known starlets such as Carrie Underwood. Though that relationship did not end well, with Underwood speaking poorly of Romo to the press post-breakup. The most controversial personal relationship that Romo has been of a part of was with Jessica Simpson, whom he started dating after Underwood. Dallas fans never warmed up to the two of them dating, some of them even viewing Simpson as a jinx. And Romo didn't help matters by whisking her away to Cabo San Lucas during the team's week off before a playoff game, a game the Cowboys later lost. In 2011, the eligible bachelor finally settled down and married Candice Crawford, a former Dallas TV reporter and the 2008 Miss Missouri USA. On April 9, 2012, the couple welcomed a baby boy, Hawkins.
|Jessica Simpson||Companion||Singer and actress; Dated for almost two years from 2007-09|
|Carrie Underwood||Companion||Reportedly dated 2007; No longer together|
|Eastern Illinois University|
|"Fame is fleeting. That stuff comes and goes." - from a CBS interview, Aug. 22, 2008|
|"If something in sports is the worst that ever happens to you, you've lived a pretty good life."- from USA Today, Jul. 27, 2007|
|Plays professional-amateur (pro-am) golf during the offseason.|
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