The year is 2004. NFL superstar Tony Romo is in his second year playing for the Dallas Cowboys. Although he is talented, Romo still has an uphill battle to prove himself to the organization that signed him and become the superstar that we know of him as today.
It was during this time, that Romo experienced one of his most anxiety-filled moments. And yet also one of his defining ones for his faith in Jesus.
The year before, the Cowboys went to the playoffs so Quincy Carter was brought back as their returning starter. They also brought in veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde to challenge Carter for that starting spot. And to decrease the odds of Romo ever getting a shot to prove himself, Drew Henson was also brought on to be the quarterback of the team’s future.
Typically football teams keep two quarterbacks, maybe three. In that instance, the Cowboys had four. So the odds were certainly not looking good for Romo. As he recalls in a 2016 interview, the anxiety that set in…
“So when I get in camp these first few days, I’m tight. Every throw I feel like I have to make perfectly. It’s like I just can’t not do anything wrong. I have to read it perfect and I have to know what’s going on and I have to do it faster. And I was just struggling for about three days. I remember sitting in my hotel room right there and I was like so pent up with anxiety. Everything was just coming to a head and it was like I can’t take it. It was just so much. My whole life felt like it was on this moment. That’s when I sat in bed and I just prayed to the Lord, and this was a very defining moment for me.
“I was like, ‘if I’m not meant to be the quarterback here or play quarterback in the NFL that’s fine. Then I’m going to go back and be a really good assistant golf club professional back in Burlington, Wisconsin.’
“But it was defining because it showed me what life is really like when you just give it to the Lord. It was freeing. I was free. I was free to go out and let that ball go and miss by ten yards. I was free because it was like, you know what, I’m okay with the outcome. It’s not up to me. Now I’m going to work my butt off and do everything I can but it’s really not up to me. So I went out there the next day and was like alright, we’re going to let it go. I started throwing the ball ten times better. But it was just fast. It was aggressive. And I didn’t worry about the results. All I worried about was being at my best and just letting it go. And you know what? A couple days later, Quincy Carter gets cut for reasons unknown, I end up making the team and the rest is history as they say.”
For more on Romo’s faith and how it helps shape his football game, you can listen to the whole interview here.