quarterback change against the Giants. On and on and on.
The Cowboys have been just grinding. Nothing has come easy so far this season. You could see that on the players' faces. You could see that on the owner's face. And you darn sure could see that on the head coach's face.
As Parcells very accurately said Saturday night to his team, "I told them I wasn't having any fun at all, and you know, this job isn't worth doing unless you're having a little bit of fun."
Fun? The Cowboys couldn't have spelled it had you spotted them the "f" and the "n".
Enter Romo, no doubt a breath of fresh air. The Huck Finn wide-as-the-Mississippi smile that always makes you think he knows something you don't. The confidence. The devil-beware attitude. The indomitable spirit, almost as if I'll show you that coming from Eastern Illinois University and advancing into the NFL via free agency, not the draft, doesn't mean a hill of beans.
Me, I should know. Don't think you guys are the only ones who take jabs. Romo, too, light-heartedly, but very cognizant of what people say and write about him, mostly thanks to his legions of "he said" friends out there who keep him informed. That's OK. In fact, that's good. Better to pop off than do a slow burn.
This team has needed that - along with someone who at times can mitigate the offensive-line problems pass blocking, Romo scrambling for first downs on two of his four runs Sunday night and setting up the two-point conversion pass to Owens by taking the jab step to fake the quarterback draw he successfully used against the Giants on a two-point conversion six days earlier.
But you could see a different pep in the Cowboys' step Sunday night, even while falling behind 14-0. There was this certain excitement, even on defense and special teams. No doubt, you saw that in Parcells.
Who knows, maybe everyone felt an added responsibility to take care of their own stuff knowing the Division I-AA quarterback who wasn't drafted and now starting his first NFL game would need all the help he could get. Fine, they probably did. Better, he probably got it, too.
Or maybe this had to do with Parcells' talkin' to the night before, taking time to read a letter written to him from one of his former Hall of Fame players, basically reminding him he needed to get back to being himself and also start having a little fun out there; to quick stewing so much.
Now this perception might all be a product of winning. Winning in the NFL can do that. But to me, this might have been more than just a win over Carolina, and that seemed evident until the emergency landing Monday morning in Nashville, Tenn., so doctors could get Tony Ollison to a hospital. (By the way, he has returned home, and results of the tests dismissed any heart problems.)
And we will also see about Romo, though the instant evaluators, as Bill likes to call you guys, have already spoken. This guy will conquer the world. Napoleon ain't got nothing on him.
But that's OK, I understand. Everyone wants hope. Few can remember the Cowboys were two field goals away last year from winning 11 games with the quarterback who threw for the second-most yards in club history now being banished to the woodshed. Believe me, Parcells understands that, too, and when the status quo is stale, you have to change the culture if you can.
Romo changes the culture around here for sure. But Parcells is not trying to provide us the second coming of the Great Society. He's trying to win football games, to the best of his ability. And he's trying to win more than just one game.
So is Romo.
Let's hope Carolina just didn't stick out its chin.