A year ago, Tony Romo shocked football fans across the nation with his retirement from the NFL. While many expected Romo to leave the Dallas Cowboys to sign with a team in need of a veteran quarterback, Romo took a new path by stepping into the broadcast booth with CBS. Fast-forward to 2018, Tony Romo is easily one of the most entertaining analysts in professional sports, across all networks.
Although a lot has changed for Romo in the past couple years, one thing that has stayed constant is his annual youth football camp at his alma mater, Burlington High School. Reuniting with Coach Steve Tenhagen, the two helped coach some of Wisconsin’s next football stars on Thursday afternoon.
Check out our photos of Tony Romo’s youth football camp below.
Super Bowl LII brought us one of the most explosive offensive showdowns in NFL playoff history, and of all the ways that could have turned out, Nick Foles and the Eagles outdueled Tom Brady and the Patriots. Philadelphia finally won its Super Bowl,the fans went wild, and another NFL season was put on the books. Before we move on to conversations about the NFL Draft and other sports, however, it feels necessary to recap some of the craziest things that happened in a wild, dramatic game.
1. Brandin Cooks Took A (Legal) Helmet-to-Helmet Hit
We’ll start with this because it’s probably the most important thing that happened in the Super Bowl, even if it’s not fun to talk about. Heading into this game, talk about the NFL’s concussion problem seemed to be at an all-time high. There were articles written about why we continue to watch football when we know the players are sustaining brain injuries, and there was even talk in detailed game previews thatRob Gronkowski’s concussion could be a factor. The Patriots star sustained a hit to the head in the AFC Championship game and though he was cleared to play there were more than a few questions about whether he ought to have been.
It wasn’t Gronkowski that wound up having issues with this sort of thing during the game, but seemingly inevitably there was a concussion. Another Patriots star, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit and was ruled out for the rest of the game. The trouble, and what made it crazy, was that the hit was ruled legal simply because Cooks had established himself as a runner after a catch. This kind of technicality is frankly absurd when player safety is already such an issue, and it ought to be dealt with during the offseason.
2. Malcolm Butler Was Benched
Malcolm Butler is one of the Patriots’ best defensive players – and for that matter one who’s helped them win a Super Bowl before. And for seemingly no reason at all, he was suddenly benched for the Super Bowl. Head coach Bill Belichick made a vague remark about making the decisions he needed to for his team to win. Butler himself said he had no idea what had happened, and that the team had given up on him. Huh?
This would have been a crazy decision by an all-time great coach even if we just saw it on paper before the game. What made it completely insane was that the Patriots’ other cornerbacks got absolutely torched the entire game. Eric Rowe, who started in Butler’s place and played most of the game, allowed six catches for 79 yards. The others in the secondary didn’t do much better. Butler indicated after the game that he could have changed the outcome, and he’s probably right.
3. Nick Foles Caught A Touchdown
At one point in this game the Patriots reached into their bag of tricks and tried a play out of the shotgun resulting in two handoffs and a pass attempt to a (slowly) streaking Tom Brady. The play worked like a charm, but for the fact that the ball was thrown just a few inches too far and Brady’s outstretched fingertips were unable to make the catch. Just a short time later, the Eagles decided to get cheeky and run more or less the exact same play – only theirs was in the red zone and resulted in Nick Foles catching a touchdown. It was undoubtedly the play that will get talked about most from Super Bowl LII, and it was wild.
4. Tom Brady Fumbled Late
When Tom Brady gets the ball back and has a chance to win the game, you assume he’s going to win the game. That’s an enormous credit to the Patriots’ 21st century-long dynasty and the greatness of Brady himself, even if people are tired of acknowledging it. The fact that New England overcame the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history just last year only added to the feeling that no lead against them is safe, even late in the game.
So, when the Eagles took the lead and Brady got the ball back with a little over two minutes to go, it looked like we were watching a familiar script play out. The Eagles had left too much time on the clock and Brady would be able to do his thing. But that’s just not how it played out this time, and at this point that’s thoroughly unexpected. Seemingly before the drive could even get started Brady’s pocket collapsed and the ball was knocked out of his hand for a clear fumble, which Philly recovered.
5. Eli Manning Stole The Show
Leave it to Eli Manning and the Giants to upstage the Patriots in a Super Bowl. Despite the fact that the Giants had a deeply disappointing 2017 season and weren’t in the playoffs to spoil the party for Brady and Co. on the field, Manning and his leading wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made their presence felt. The two starred in a Dirty Dancing spoof that’s widely being labeled as the best ad of the Super Bowl (though it’s hard to argue against the Doritos/Mountain Dew double ad featuring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman). It was a terrific ad, and one that brought a dose of levity to the occasion.
A lot has changed since Tony Romo’s last visit to his hometown of Burlington, WI, for his annual youth football camp. After suffering a back injury during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott stepped up to the plate for the Dallas Cowboys, leading the team to the best record in the NFC. Romo only saw action for one drive, in the team’s last regular season match up, which to no surprise, ended with a touchdown.
Many speculated what was next for Romo. Would he move a few hours south and lead the Houston Texans to their first Super Bowl? Would the Denver Broncos repeat their success with Peyton Manning, by inviting another veteran QB to lead their team? Or would Romo remain with America’s Team, either as a starting quarterback or to back up Prescott? To the surprise of many, Tony Romo instead announced his retirement and accepted a highly coveted broadcasting job with CBS. Football would remain part of Romo’s daily routine, but with a very different role.
While so much is changing for Romo, today was all about familiarity for the Wisconsin-native. Returning to his alma mater, Burlington High School, to join Coach Steve Tenhagen for their annual youth football camp, Tony Romo took a break from his training with CBS to give back to his hometown.
Check out our photos of Tony Romo’s youth football camp below and read what Tony had to say at his first press conference since announcing his retirement here.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Tony Romo has always drawn comparisons to Green Bay Packers’ legend, Brett Favre, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. During his hometown visit to Burlington, WI, for his annual youth football camp, fans couldn’t help but wonder if Romo will change his mind on retirement, just like Brett Favre in 2008.
Romo doubled down on his commitment to his new gig with CBS, stating, “I’m comfortable with where I’m at, and I feel good about the decision. You never really know ultimately how you’re going to feel until you decide to stop playing and that decision was obviously a very difficult time.” Romo continued, “I’m excited about the next opportunity. For me, a lot will be learned through experience. I learned that a long time ago with football.”
However, for those who are still crossing their fingers that Romo answers the phone and comes out of retirement, if any team (including the Cowboys) is in need of a quarterback to make a legendary run in the playoffs, there is good news.
When we asked Tony if he is staying in shape, when compared to previous years where he was preparing for the football season, Tony half-jokingly told us that he is in “the best shape of (his) life.” Romo explained, “I’ve had the same routine. That hasn’t change too much.”
“I haven’t exactly been squatting 400 pounds the past 3 or 4 years, once I had the back surgery I had to adjust everything (but) my routine and workout really hasn’t changed since football season.”
Although Tony didn’t state that continuing his workout routine was to keep his options open in case he decides to return to football, it’s good to know that the Cowboys’ all-time leader in passing yards is physically ready to go if he decides to make one last run.
One reason, of many, that Tony cited for his decision to join CBS was his family. Currently awaiting the birth of his third child, all of which are boys, we asked Romo if there was ever a name he wanted for one of his boys that ultimately received a veto from his wife.
“Yeah, Tony was one of them,” Romo told us. “But that (name) kind of got the boot pretty good. It got dismissed,” Romo joked.
Tony Romo also paid homage to Burlington legend, Don Dalton, who recently passed away at the age of 75. Romo told reporters about how the former Burlington Football coach was the reason he began playing football in high school.
Romo, having missed the deadline to enroll his high school’s football program, was approached by Dalton, who encouraged Romo to join the team. Although Romo thought it was too late to join, it was Don Dalton who made it happen.
“I think he saw something in me obviously. He knew that I had a chance to be a decent player,” Romo told reporters. Who would have guessed that years later Romo would be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
And just as Dalton made a mark on a young Tony Romo, Romo continued to pay it forward today, giving advice to some of the area’s youth athletes for his annual football camp.
On October 15th, the Wisconsin Badgers’ record sat at 4-2 following back to back losses to Michigan and Ohio State including a 1-2 record to begin Big Ten Conference play. With that, the Badgers and their fans’ playoff hopes were as good we gone. Fast forward to early December, Wisconsin now sits at 10-2 on the strength of 6 straight victories. They now have a chance to make the coveted final four teams. Quite a comeback, but not a surprise as the Badgers have made resiliency the norm in Madison lately. Especially this season, as Bucky and company have been ravaged by injuries and have had to overcome a plethora of adversity including a split quarterback situation, with a senior and a freshman both playing significant snaps.
The same could be said for the Nittany Lions of Penn State who also sat at 10-2 coming into Saturday night’s action where they would knock off the Wisconsin Badgers 38-31.
Austin Ramesh had a one yard touchdown run to open up the scoring for Wisconsin.
Following a Penn State punt after an opening drive 3 and out, Wisconsin running back Corey Clement detonated for a 67 yard run on the 2nd play from scrimmage, sending the Badgers fan sections of Lucas Oil Stadium into hysteria.
Just like that, it was 14-nothing Bucky.
It looked like smooth sailing for Wisconsin as they rushed out to a 14-nothing lead. However, Penn State hasn’t won 10 games by simply giving in.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley lead a strong drive for the Nittany Lions, going 75 yards on just 5 plays. McSorley lofted a perfectly thrown deep ball to tightend Mike Gesicki who simply out-jumped the Badgers corner for the ball. The 33 yard pass play made it 14-7 Wisconsin.
An early turning point in the game came after Penn State forced a Wisconsin punt on their next posession. Driving for the potential tie, the Nittany Lions would make a costly mistake. Senior Brian Gaia’s snap sailed over the head of McSorley causing a scramble for the loose ball, ultimately ending with a Badgers defensive touchdown by Ryan Connelly on the fumble recovery.
Facing a 21-7 deficit, Penn State would attempt to go for it on 4th and 2 from their own 42. The desperate move was completely baffling so early in the game. The Badgers would turn Penn State over on downs after forcing an errant throw.
Wisconsin tailback Dare Ogunbowale ran for a 7 yard score, stretching the Badgers’ lead out 28-7.
Penn State appeared to be in real trouble heading into halftime, save for a hyper efficient and equally clutch 90 yard drive. The Nittany Lions capped the drive with a 40 yard touchdown from McSorley to Saeed Blacknall with under a minute to go.
The 2016 Big Ten Championship game was a tale of two halves.
Completely overwhelmed in the first half, Penn State looked like a totally different team in the 2nd half. One missed field goal, one punt by the Badgers and two Nittany Lions touchdowns later, Penn State would pull even with Wisconsin, 28-28.
Wisconsin would finally score on a short field goal with 16 seconds remaining in the 3rd, making it 31-28 heading into the fourth.
It wouldn’t matter as fate had this one sealed. The Nittany Lions would continue the largest comeback in Big Ten Championship game history.
McShorley would connect with running back Saquon Barkley on a perfect loft throw in the back corner of the endzone for an 18 yard score.
A Penn State field goal made it 38-31.
Penn State would hold off a last ditch effort by the Badgers to tie the game in the closing minutes. The Nittany Lions would stuff the Badgers on a fourth and one; a play, that after a chain measurement, sealed the big comeback win for Penn State.
Trace McSorley absolutely shredded the Badgers secondary, airing the football out seemingly at will. McSorley completed 22 of 31 passes for a Big Ten Championship record 384 yards and 4 touchdowns.
As good as the Badgers defense had been this season, the secondary played their worst game of the season, looking invisible on some of Penn State’s long pass plays.
Saeed Blacknall caught 6 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Daesean Hamilton hauled in 8 catches for 118 yards. The duo were the difference makers for the Nittany Lions.
Corey Clement ran for 164 yards on 21 carries for Wisconsin but was mostly a non factor after the first quarter. The senior ran for one score.
Senior quarterback Bart Houston’s conservative play, which worked for much of the first half, didn’t have enough juice to then generate a comeback for Wisconsin. Houston finished the game 16 for 21 for 174 yards with no scores.
Penn State will now have a great case to make the playoffs as one of the final four teams.
Wisconsin had a fine season and will play in a big bowl game for their efforts but it will be a season of what ifs for the University of Wisconsin and their diehard fans.
MORE PHOTOS (by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration)
Today was a big day for the Wisconsin Badgers, and it involved a lot of familiarity while also charting a lot of new ground. First, it was Senior Day, the last day that seniors Corey Clement, Vince Biegel and company will ever play for their home crowd at Camp Randall Stadium. Emotions were running high throughout the entire day, and the senior class had their sights on a memorable afternoon with their family and friends watching.
Next, today’s game was also important because it marked Wisconsin’s heated rivalry with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Although Wisconsin has dominated this matchup in recent history, Minnesota was going to do everything in its power to ensure that Wisconsin didn’t reclaim Paul Bunyan’s axe for a 13th straight year.
And if a rivalry matchup and Senior Day wasn’t enough, the game also marked the Badger’s celebration of their Big 10 West victory. Although Wisconsin clinched the title (and therefore birth in the Big 10 Championship game) yesterday, celebrating their upcoming match against Penn State (who paved their way with Ohio State and Penn State wins earlier today) just wouldn’t have been the same after a crushing loss.
Then last but not least, the day was a special one because of the playoff implications that surrounded the game. Of course the Badgers have had a “one game at a time” mentality, but the reality is, with a win today and a Big 10 Championship win next week, Wisconsin could very well make the College Football Playoffs for the first time. It’s unclear if the Badgers would still need some help, but if the squad didn’t do their part against the Golden Gophers, then their playoff hopes would be more than over.
So with so much on the line, you could expect the Badgers to hit the ground running and bully Minnesota around, right? Well, it wasn’t so easy. At least not right away.
Not only did Minnesota draw blood first with an early field goal, but after Wisconsin responded with an Alec Ingold touchdown in the second quarter, Minnesota had two unanswered touchdown scores from QB Mitch Leidner (one rushing and one passing). But after Leidner’s touchdown run with 53 seconds left to end Minnesota’s impressive first half, Minnesota would not score another point all game.
Wisconsin first chipped away at their 17-7 deficit with an Andrew Endicott field goal. While they turned the game into a one-score Minnesota lead, field goals were not going to get the job done, especially with how Wisconsin was moving the ball up to that point.
Then it was time for the game changing moment. Just when Minnesota was starting to move the ball again, the Badger’s Mitch Leidner intercepted Leidner’s pass in Wisconsin’s own endzone, saving 7 points and perhaps saving a second half dagger that very well may have put the game away. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, this was only a 7-point swing as the Badgers punted the ball away after 4 plays and 19 yards.
But there is something about the 4th Quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. As “Jump Around” was blasting throughout the stadium, Wisconsin had new life. With 13 minutes left in the game, Wisconsin’s Sojourn Shelton delivered with a big interception and return for 40 yards to the Minnesota 19. With great field position, Wisconsin capitalized with a Corey Clement touchdown run, after Wisconsin QB Bart Houston delivered a clutch pass to Robert Wheelwright.
Minutes later, the Badgers again found the endzone, again with a Corey Clement touchdown run. The real MVP of this drive though was WR Jazz Peavy, who had a huge 71-yard run to the Minnesota 5-yard-line.
From there, the game was all but over, and Wisconsin continued to show us why they have arguably the best defense in the country. Wisconsin would see 4 total interceptions in the second half, two of which led to easy touchdowns for the Badgers. While Minnesota’s offense owned the first half of play, Wisconsin’s defense stepped up big time in the second half. Although the Badgers continue to win despite their offense, as opposed to because of their offense, it was enough for another week.
They say defense wins championships and Wisconsin will test that theory next weekend, as the Badgers will face the Big 10 East Champions in Penn State for the Conference Championship in Indianapolis.
Check out our photos from the Badger’s victory over Minnesota here.
All of Madison, Wisconsin was on pins and needles after the #5 ranked Badgers trailed the Golden Gophers of Minnesota at halftime. However four 2nd half interceptions helped Wisconsin escape defeat, leading to a Wisconsin Badgers victory, 31-17. The Badgers not only reclaimed Paul Bunyan’s axe in the rivalry matchup, but they kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Wisconsin will now face Penn State in the Big 10 Championship, in what will surely be a game to watch.
Moments ago, the seventh ranked Wisconsin Badgers spoiled Drew Brees’ homecoming visit for the Purdue Boilermaker’s Senior Day, with a dominating 49-20 victory. While Purdue struck blood first, after Wisconsin’s ensuing touchdown drive and TJ Watt’s monster pick 6, Wisconsin never looked back. Wisconsin continues to dominate conference opponents and is now one win away from a Big 10 Championship birth.
While Illinois was coming off an exciting victory over Michigan State, it was all Wisconsin in this one, as the Badgers demolished the Fighting Illini, 48-3. From offense to defense, Wisconsin was operating on all cylinders for their Homecoming crowd.
Matching a career high with three touchdowns, Corey Clement again ran for over 100 yards (123), and was just one of many Wisconsin rushers who contributed to the teams combined 363 yards rushing. Although the receivers played a secondary role in the offense today, Jazz Peavy scored on a first quarter touchdown and continued to show why he is one of the better receivers in the conference.
And despite putting up 31 points in the first half, with three touchdowns coming in the first quarter alone, it was the defense that truly set the tempo early on. Four interceptions from three different players, Wisconsin’s defense consistently gave the offense exceptional field position.
It was truly a team victory, and while the Badgers absolutely dominated and did everything right, their weaknesses were still under watch as both quarterbacks, Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston, took snaps today.
While Hornibrook and Houston each threw for one touchdown, and doing what was asked of them, the inconsistency at the quarterback position, that maintain this far into the season, may be what costs Wisconsin during a potential conference championship, bowl game, or even a shot a the national title.
And don’t rule Wisconsin out of a playoff appearance just yet. While many fans lost hope that a two loss team could even make the playoffs, with Wisconsin’s resume and if they continue to dominate like they did against Illinois, they could certainly have a chance if they win out.
Wisconsin has the best chance of any Big 10 team to make it to the conference championship next month, and although Michigan and Ohio State both beat the Badgers and are currently ranked higher, a Big 10 Championship may lead to a playoff birth, even with two losses.
And when Wisconsin very likely may face Penn State in the conference championship (which may help or hurt them), don’t underestimate Wisconsin’s chances of winning their next three.
If, which is still a big “if”, Wisconsin does make it to the playoffs, they will have to figure out this quarterback situation. Neither Hornibrook or Houston will turn into an elite quarterback by the end of the season, but one of them will need to step up, even with Wisconsin’s elite defense. To what extent and who will be the one to do it? Only time will tell.
The Badgers will look to keep their playoff hopes and chances at winning the Big 10 alive, next week at Purdue, for a 11:00 AM Saturday game in West Lafayette.
Moments ago, the seventh ranked Wisconsin Badgers gave their homecoming crowd in Madison, WI a big “W”, as Wisconsin defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini. Although Illinois was coming of an excellent win against the talented Michigan State, the energy flowing through Camp Randall this afternoon was just too much for the Illini to handle, and RB Kendrick Foster just wasn’t able to find the same success against against Wisconsin elite defense.