Dallas Cowboys fan or not, there’s no denying that Tony Romo has had an incredibly humbling NFL season.
After suffering a back injury early on in the season, the Cowboys’ starting quarterback made the heartbreaking decision to step aside and let Rookie Dak Prescott lead the team. He made the emotional announcement in a press conference on November 15.
To say he did it with class and dignity is an understatement. Romo’s handling of his less-than desired situation is truly a reflection of his strong Christian faith.
Raised in church, Tony has known about God his entire life. But it wasn’t until college that he made the decision to fully surrender his life to the Lord.
“I grew up in the church, in Sunday school. But I had never known how to give yourself over to the Lord. You could say I never thought deeply about it other than just Sunday school and church. And Jesus was Santa in some ways.”
Throughout high school, Tony excelled in athletics. He was an exceptional basketball player, and eventually found his knack for football during his junior year, which paved the way for a college football career.
College was stressful, and while his drive to win was his reason for competition, Tony knew there had to be more to life than winning.
God had been working in him all along.
“I had never known how to give myself over to the Lord… I remember in college a few people talking about it [their faith in Jesus Christ]. I remember this guy mentioning Bible study. He probably didn’t know it but I was watching him, and I wanted what he had. I wanted the ability to be at peace when life was crappy… [After becoming a believer]…it was so freeing to finally know that someone other than me was sovereign over my life and I could rest in that.”
He recited the Lord’s prayer and committed his life to Christ. From then on, Tony Romo was on fire for Jesus, and lived to be a true disciple.
Tony graduated college without any foreseeable future pursuing his dreams in the NFL. His life hadn’t turned out the way he had planned, but he continued to faithfully trust God’s plan for his life.
His undeniable talent got him signed to the Dallas Cowboys in 2003 as a free-agent. But there was still something holding him back.
“My second year in the NFL, I was in training camp, I was very stressed and emotional. I sat there and prayed that night, ‘If I’m meant to be an assistant golf club professional back in Wisconsin, I will be that and I will trust You. But I am done making every single thing be the most important moment of my life. There’s no peace in that. I’m literally giving football to You…I’m going to play aggressively and leave it up to you. And I’m going to peace with whatever the outcome is.’”
That prayer changed everything.
“That was the moment I learned to play the game—when I gave it up. When I gave it up, He had control.”
With God on his side, and in his heart, Tony Romo has lived out every little boy’s dream. He knows that winning is not everything, but instead that the Lord is first in his life.
“I’d love to say that my life was magically perfect after I came to the Lord, but it doesn’t work that way. You still sin, it’s still hard. But whenever you fail you come back to the lord—you don’t run away. But I’m going to keep getting back up and praying and asking for forgiveness and keep my faith. That’s what it’s about.You come back to Him. And He gives you peace. You don’t stand a chance if you don’t believe in something bigger than yourself. There are too many ups and downs that go with playing quarterback in the National Football League.”
Being able to trust God through every struggle, devastating injury and setback, the starting quarterback wears his faith as proudly as he wears his No. 9 jersey.
“I don’t want to be done playing and not use this platform to let people know I feel blessed. I don’t want to squander a gift that’s been given to me to do this. I want to give back the way I think the Lord intended when he allowed me to have these abilities.”
Tony’s faith goes much further than the football field. He says the greatest gift of his life isn’t his NFL career, but the family that God has blessed him to lead.
The quarterback married Candice Crawford in 2011, and the couple has two young sons. Romo faithfully puts his family always before his career.
“I think one of the most important things you’re going to do in your life is hopefully be the spiritual leader of your family. Growing up, I was lucky to have a dad who instilled that in me.”
In his press conference earlier this season, Tony said, “We all know something magical is happening to our team.” Although they lost in the Divisional Round of the post-season against the Greenbay Packers, the quarterback’s statement still rings true. Something magical happened to the Cowboys this season, and Jesus is written all over it.