Much of that criticism is warranted. After all, Romo has never won a playoff game, and he found a way to lead Dallas to a monumental late-season collapse when a playoff berth appeared to be a certainty. It doesn't help matters much when people begin to anonymously complain about his practice habits.
Romo, who doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who would turn down advice from a Hall of Famer, would be wise to listen to advice at this point. This is especially true when that advice comes from the last Hall of Famer to play quarterback for the Cowboys.
Troy Aikman made an appearance on former teammate (and fellow Hall of Famer) Michael Irvin's radio show. It was there that he made his thoughts clear on Romo.
Hey, Tony, it's not about the truth when it comes to fans and the media. It really is about perception.
"I think maybe things happened so quickly for Tony in terms of obscurity to all of a sudden national spotlight that he hasn't fully grasped what being the Cowboys quarterback is all about," Aikman said to Irvin. "And you don't go to Cabo the week before a playoff game. You just don't do it.I'm confident that the much-ballyhooed Cabo trip didn't affect Romo's preparation for that Giants game, either. But no one cares about the likely truth. They care about the perception, which was that Romo went on vacation when he should have been starting his preparation for the most important game of his life.
"It didn't take away from his preparations. I know that. I mean, everything he says is I think accurate. I don't think that had any bearing.
"But to say, 'I don't worry about perception,' you better worry about perception, because it's a big part of making it through some very difficult times."
Stories that are overhyped by the media don't do much for me. And the Cowboys are such a high-profile team that you hear about everything that goes on. It makes Romo and the team very easy to dislike, even though they're probably not behaving any differently than any other NFL team. They're just doing it for a franchise that's always commanded attention, both good and bad.
But when you choose to play for that kind of team, you do it with the understanding that these things are going to happen. Your job is to avoid them, not pretend they don't exist. Part of what made Aikman such a great leader was his ability to stay away from controversy, both on and off the field. If Romo is to ever be half the player Aikman was, he has to learn to stay away from in-season vacations and Mr. Belding (NSFW).