Father Time is undefeated. It’s a popular slogan preached in sports whenever a superstar athlete with divine skills begins to toil as a shell of his former self. Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning are two icons recently bitten by this crippling disease, but the catchphrase especially rings true for a sport whose abbreviation also doubles as “Not For Long.”
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s age-35 season was lost to two separate left shoulder injuries.
Although the Cowboys arguably have the league’s most talented offensive line, Romo caught a case of bad luck last season and couldn’t stay upright as Dallas limped to a 4-12 finish. The four games he played were the fewest of his 13-year career. His underwhelming stat line of 5 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and a career-low 55.8 passer rating was perhaps a precursor of a potential demise.
Romo is trying to fight Father Time and extend the lease on his aching body because he has plans of playing till he’s knocking on the doors of age 40.
“I am the old man, but I’m getting younger,” Romo told [a]listdaily. “I still have a lot of time left to play, and I’m pretty excited about it going forward.”
He’s still undergoing rehab treatment for the collarbone, and is not 100 percent yet, he says. However, Romo is “close” and assures he’ll be ready by offseason training activities.
Romo can’t control the punishing hits his body absorbs, so he’s doing his best to prevent it and regain 2014 form – his best season to date. One way is by embracing technology and subtly changing daily habits and the way he maintains his body.
“We’re always searching for answers. Detail is what I want,” Romo says. “I want to have more knowledge and facts to back up (technology). I’ve learned through trial and error and experience through most of my career.”
Romo signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour last August, and he’s enjoying the spoils of that partnership this offseason through the HealthBox, a kit equipped with an activity-tracking wristband, a chest-based heart rate strap and a scale; all of the health data saves in the UA app. The company has turned into a marketing monster in recent years, spending close to a half billion dollars as they try and soften Nike’s stronghold on sports. UA has inked such stars as Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Julio Jones to command attention in the much-coveted football market. NFL draft prospects are decked out in UA apparel during the scouting combine for years to come, and their “protect this house” promos get you more pumped up than a Ray Lewis motivational speech. Now, Romo is subscribing to the company’s “make athletes better” motto with the clothes-to-technology philosophy change.
“For me, I just want data. The more data I can get, the better I can be day-in, and day-out,” Romo says. “When you look at it closely, the HealthBox is really different from anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been using it, and it’s fantastic. It’s very unique in the sense of how easy it is. It’s a special thing I’ve learned to love it and it’s helping me get back from injury and be ready for next year.”
Romo’s paid to promote the product – his wife Candice has called him a “grandpa” when it comes to technology – but he’s also adapting to UA’s pillars of sleep, fitness, activity and nutrition in order to add some lines to the last stanza of his career.
Even though the perennial Pro Bowl signal-caller is under contract until 2019, all signs point to the Cowboys either drafting or trading for Romo’s future successor this offseason in case he bites the injury bug again. The first two names that immediately enter the equation in Big D is Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel – two embattled quarterbacks with ties to Texas likely headed for new beginnings elsewhere.
When asked if the Cowboys will pull the trigger on acquiring a new quarterback, Romo says “the evaluation has just started,” and complimented current backup Kellen Moore. Romo knows that if he can stay on the field, he could make the Cowboys immediate contenders again in the paltry NFC East.
“I think you’re going to see a good football team next year,” he says. “The season didn’t turn out the way we liked. It was a tough season for everybody in the organization, and for Cowboys fans. I wish I could have been out there more to help. … I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan.