Aikman criticizes Romo on perception

Updated: January 21, 2009, 6:32 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The sniping that has followed the end of the Dallas Cowboys' disappointing season continues this week.

On Tuesday, after a Dallas newspaper report of the team's implosion, former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was critical of current QB Tony Romo in an interview with Michael Irvin on Irvin's radio program.

"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.

"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."

Romo famously vacationed in Cabo San Lucas with girlfriend Jessica Simpson during the bye week before last year's NFL playoffs.

Romo, for his part, told the Racine Journal Times this week that: "You never win the big one until you win the big one. Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin were fired before they ended up going on their playoff run last year and winning the Super Bowl. Three games before the playoffs, neither one of them were coming back.

"So, believe me, the NFL is such a reality show. Week to week, you're the best player in the league to the worst player in the league. It all depends on what you've done for me lately."

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Rise and fall of the 2008 Cowboys.

Earlier Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported that the Cowboys players had "lost respect" for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, in part because of Romo.

The paper, citing five sources, said that Romo was inconsistent in practice and that it "affected the way he played in games and could have factored into the offense's problems."

Earlier this season, Romo was involved in a controversy with wide receiver Terrell Owens for allegedly using tight end Jason Witten too much in the offensive scheme. Romo and Witten are close friends.

The Morning News also cited a number of other alleged off-field issues, including planes taking off late because players weren't on time. ESPN's Ed Werder reported however that, according to a Cowboys player, the team plane was being held for owner Jerry Jones.

Cowboys spokesperson Rich Dalrymple said Tuesday that none of the flights delayed was because it was waiting for a player or any team personnel, and that Jones travels with the team only about half of the time.