Quarterback Tony Romo has chosen to stop playing even though he still could. Another quarterback who went from playing to broadcasting has a message for Romo: Don’t stop playing.
“As a competitor and as a former player and even as a Tony Romo fan, it’s kind of disappointing,” Brady Quinn told PFT Live on Thursday regarding Romo’s decision. “Because the guy’s playing at such a high level. If he is healthy, if he can play, why not, man? Go get that ring. It burns inside of me to want that for other players, because in my mind things got cut short and I wasn’t able to fully live out the dreams and the goals I had for myself.”
Unlike Romo, Quinn tried to exhaust all of his football opportunities, and he saw it as a “tough pill to swallow” when the time came to transition to a job that entails “watching the game you love to play.”
“You want to be down there,” Quinn said. “It’s tough to be able to move on from it.”
Quinn also was asked to explain the advice he’d give to Romo. Regardless the obvious reality that Romo will be criticized even more as a broadcaster than as a player, Quinn provided an important clarification: Players are in a better position to ignore criticism because of the “tunnel vision” that comes from being in the midst of a week-in, week-out quest for victories. Broadcasters don’t have that same focus, and without a scoreboard telling Romo whether he won or lost in a given week, he may be inclined to absorb what the critics and trolls are saying.
Quinn made another great point that plenty of players-turned-broadcasters don’t realize: You think you’ll have more time with your family, but you won’t.
Football players are home for nine of the 17 weeks of a football season. Broadcasters hit the road every weekend. For Romo, who will be doing Thursday night games and Sunday games for the first half of the season, he’ll likely be home on Monday and gone on Wednesday at the latest.
And then there’s the work.
“It’s just as much preparation if not more as a broadcaster because you have to watch all three phases, both teams, throughout the course of the week,” Quinn said. “Not just one opponent. So I definitely think it’s a bigger commitment than people realize.”
Romo may realize the magnitude of the commitment. He may realize the temptation that will arise from working games involving quarterbacks who can’t play as well as he still could. And he may not be as good in the job as everyone assumes he’ll be; the added pressure of walking through the door as the No. 1 analyst at CBS will make it even harder for him.
“What keeps CBS from not replacing him from someone like Drew Brees or Peyton Manning?” Quinn said, and that’s fair to consider, given the swift and decisive and dispassionate way in which CBS cut bait on a guy who had been in the No. 1 seat for years.
All factors considered, there’s a chance that once Romo gets a taste of life in the booth, he’ll decide that life isn’t really for him, at least not while he can still play. Which is likely the real reason he asked to be released by the Cowboys — and the real reason he declines to use the word “retired.”