While Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may have some concerns about Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo playing for the intrastate rival Houston Texans, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin knows where Texas’ loyalties really lie.
There is a belief that the reason the Cowboys haven’t released Romo from his contract is because Houston would be a likely landing spot for the signal caller. It’s not unusual for teams to avoid trading within their division, but the Texans aren’t even in the same conference. Instead, the feeling is Jones wants to make sure regional fans remain fixated – and continue spending their hard-earned money – on Dallas.
If it’s a battle for the heart of Texas that worries Jones, Irvin thinks there’s nothing to fear. While Romo going to the Texans would undoubtedly draw some additional attention, the Cowboys will always be No. 1 in the state.
“Never in your lifetime, my lifetime and your kids’ lifetime will the Houston Texans take over Texas from the Dallas Cowboys,” Irvin said on the Dan Patrick Show on Monday (via Jon Machota for the Dallas Morning News). “Never. Don’t even sweat it. Don’t worry about it.”
Irvin, who spent 12 seasons with Dallas, might be right. The Cowboys have such a strong foothold and lengthy history, it’s difficult to imagine the Texans ever overtaking them in terms of popularity in the state. It simply isn’t likely to happen.
Yet, if even one fan chose to buy tickets to a Texans game instead of the Cowboys because of Romo, or buys Romo’s jersey with Houston instead of Dallas apparel, that is going to bother Jones immensely. Even if it is a brief affair for most fans, it cuts into the bottom line. And that’s just money. Imagine how Jones might feel watching Romo hoist the Lombardi Trophy for another NFL franchise in the great state of Texas.
Romo going to Houston, performing well and guiding the team to a Super Bowl would almost certainly create new Texans fans, and whether he says so or not, the idea can’t thrill Jones. No, a few years of wouldn’t flip the entire state, but it could have a serious impact.