A picture recently making the rounds on social media shows Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray sitting in the locker room after a victory over the Colts on December 21, 2014. The players are all smiles, having clinched the NFC East.
It seems like only yesterday that Witten, Romo, Bryant and Murray were teammates on the Cowboys.
In the four years they were together, the Cowboys went 36-28. But their only playoff appearance came in 2014 when the Cowboys went 12-4. Dallas lost at Green Bay in the divisional round after the controversial replay overturn of Bryant’s fourth-down catch.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to call his biggest regret not winning a Lombardi Trophy with Romo and Witten. The quarterback and tight end had eight seasons together when Romo started more than half the games, and the Cowboys went 74-43 in the regular-season in those seasons but only 2-4 in the postseason.
“There’s no doubt that the personal feeling I have about what Tony Romo and Jason Witten brought to the Cowboys during their career, I don’t think I’ve had a moment in the day that at some time I don’t reflect back on those good years and what they contributed,” Jones said. “And I’ve said this: From my standpoint, I can’t help but say, ‘Boy, I really dropped the ball not doing enough to get them in a Super Bowl. That will be and is my biggest regret about my time with the Cowboys.”
Murray left as a free agent in 2015. Romo retired before the 2017 season. The last two men standing from that photo –Bryant and Witten — moved on this offseason. The Cowboys released Bryant last month, and Witten retired last week.
Romo and Witten’s departures in particular have left a hole in Jones’ heart and a leadership void on the team.
“I respected so much how unique Tony Romo’s contribution was both from a leadership standpoint as well as just his command of the game, his presence, everything out there,” Jones said. “It has just been reinforced when I also think about Witten not being on the field. It can’t help but remind me of what you miss when you lose a Tony Romo. On the other hand, just as the very nature of what happened now [last year with Romo’s retirement], that gives the opening for somebody else to step up not only as a player but also from the standpoint of leadership. I think we’ve really got the opportunity to see that here certainly with Dak [Prescott] and the general leadership we have on that side of the ball.”