It was a sad day for football fans across America – a day few saw coming. Tuesday, the 14-year veteran of the Dallas Cowboys announced his retirement from the NFL. With the Houston Texans standing in the wings, offering Romo the chance of a Super Bowl which has eluded him all these years, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is leaving the football field to be an analyst for CBS.
What drove his decision? Why would Tony Romo step away from the game he loves so much when his best shot at football’s ultimate prize was right in front of him? Playing for the Texans was tempting, he said. But there is one thing that matters more to Tony Romo than football.
Tony Romo believes in God. In fact, he says that many of his life’s deepest struggles are what caused him to turn to Christ as his Savior. But he hasn’t always been so strong in his faith.
Antonio Ramiro “Tony” Romo was born on April 21, 1980. He was raised in a military family and became active in sports at a young age. He was active in church, but did not surrender his life to Christ until he was in college. Romo says, “I grew up in church, in Sunday School. But I had never known how to give myself over to the Lord. You could say, I never thought deeply about it. To me, Jesus was Santa in some ways.”
While playing at Eastern Illinois University, Romo realized God had been trying to get his attention. In college, he became a true disciple of Christ. He says, “I had never known how to give myself over to the Lord. I remember in college a few people talking about their faith in Jesus Christ. It was then that I became a real believer. It was so freeing to finally know that someone other than me was sovereign over my life and I could rest in that.”
Reflecting back on his career, the Cowboy record-holder says, “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 I keep getting back up and praying and asking for forgiveness and keep my faith. And he gives me peace.”
Romo is a family man, married to 2008 Miss Missouri USA Candice Crawford. He told reporters, “I think one of the most important things you’re going to do in your life is hopefully be a spiritual leader of your family.”
As for his future, Romo says, “I want 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 the Lord intended when he allowed me to have these abilities.”
So after an exciting 14-year NFL career, Tony Romo is retiring. He is leaving the game he loves so much in pursuit of the one thing he loves even more – his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As a Houston Texans fan, I’m bummed. But as a follower of Jesus Christ, I get it. And I’ll be rooting for Tony Romo more now than ever.