At around this time of year, in 2004, my then girlfriend (now wife) decided to surprise me with a pair of tickets to go watch the Cowboys play the Raiders in Oakland, California.
Living in the Bay Area, I don't get many opportunities to see the Cowboys play in person, so I jumped at the chance.
So my girlfriend and I arrived at the game, of course not wearing any offensive regalia (i.e. Cowboy jerseys), sat down and enjoyed the game.
(For any Cowboy diehards who might have taken offense of us not being decked-out in Cowboy attire; you try sporting your painted star faces at Oakland Coliseum and let me know how that goes.)
The game was your basic snoozer as preseason games go.
I do remember getting a few pictures of then Cowboy newcomer, Eddie George, and being mindful to watch out for a few of our new draft picks like Julius Jones, Bruce Thorton and Patrick Crayton.
As the game winded down, the field became littered with a bunch of obscure names, rookie free agents, and journeymen players fighting for roster spots.
Tony Romo fit somewhere in that group of players. Romo at that point was just a second year player still fighting to justify a roster spot.
Little did I know Romo was about to give the fans a glimpse of his famous moxy, and a reason for then Cowboys' head coach, Bill Parcells, to keep him.
The details are a little fuzzy, but I believe the Cowboys were down by three points, with less than a minute to go.
The Romo-led Cowboys were driving and managed to get into Raider territory. My girlfriend and I had already started heading up the stairs to get a jump on traffic heading out of the stadium.
We made our way to the top of the stairs when we heard a loud roar (quite a few Cowboy fans in Oaktown); Romo had the Cowboys at the Raider 2-yard line with about 15 seconds to go.
So we stood there and watched with everyone else.
Romo was frantically ushering the Cowboys to the line. The clock continued to wind down. Finally, the snap; Romo takes the ball and sneaks it up the gut for the touchdown and what ended up being the game winner.
We screamed our heads off and quickly got the hell out of Dodge.
Listening to the post game show and interviews, I found out that Parcells called for a spike to stop the clock, Romo nixed the play call and audibled for the sneak instead.
Can you say ballsy?
I never dreamed at that point Romo would assume the starting role nearly two years later and become one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
I'll always remember it, and the story will only get better if Romo helps lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory at some point in his career.
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