ARLINGTON, Texas – Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones knew what the questions would be before they were even asked.
Jones had just watched his franchise quarterback set the standard for what a Cowboys quarterback is capable of in a single game. In that same game, he saw Tony Romo throw the interception that led to the game-winning points. The talking points were obvious.
In the deflated scramble of the postgame locker room, Jones minced no words about how he felt about the performance.
"Romo played the best game that I've ever seen him play in his career – not only from the standpoint of how he executed, not only how he created plays, but his leadership," Jones said. "That was unfortunate, that it came down to that at the end … He played the best game that he's ever played for us, and if we can have that type of play from him and others, especially on the offensive side of the ball, I think we'll win most of our football games left."
It was a day that fit the perception of Romo to perfection. The veteran quarterback completed 69 percent of his passes for a franchise-record 506 yards, not to mention five touchdowns. He wound his back and forth across his backfield for unbelievable completions.
And of course, the last throw of his day went into tight Denver coverage for a game-sealing interception.
"I'm disappointed that it came down to that. We got ours from Peyton earlier, but when it came down it was bad timing," Jones said. "The reason it was bad timing is we didn't get to get back at bat, and last at-bats out there had a lot to do with how this thing turned out today. But I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys for competing."
On one hand, the boss' approval is quite an endorsement for the quarterback making $100 million. At the same time, Jones was well aware of the narrative Sunday's loss will say about Romo.
Jones was once again blunt when asked if the widespread criticisms of Romo's abilities will persist.
"They will – until he wins the Super Bowl," he said. "And then when they do that, the guy standing over on the other sideline or up in the box, John Elway, had those things said about him his entire career – or things like that said about that his entire career. He was a great player, and we all know that. He ultimately got his Super Bowls, and they don't really say that about him anymore."
The presence of Elway, current vice president of football operations and former quarterback for the Broncos, at AT&T Stadium on Sunday made for an convenient comparison for Jones.
Despite his gaudy numbers, Elway held an unimpressive 7-8 postseason record, including an 0-3 mark in Super Bowls, when the Broncos went on a tear of seven straight playoff win and back-to-back championships during the last two seasons of his career.
"I'm not trying to be trite, but it's the only way we'll ever have his recognition," Jones said. "When you talk about that position, when you talk about a player at that position giving you the best chance to win big, there are not many better than him, and he has always been for the last several years our best chance to win big. And he showed it today."