Last night you could hear the collective gasp of Cowboys fans everywhere as their team was just beginning to show the first signs of life this season when - nailed by a safety blitz - their Quarterback, Tony Romo, was driven into the turf. Anyone who's watched football for any length of time knew pretty quickly that his collarbone had probably lost that duel with the ground. [Ground-1, Collarbone-0] You know for most any football team, losing your starting QB is a hard blow to take. At the same time - especially for a "professional" team - shouldn't this be sort of like getting the wind knocked out of you? Stay down for a minute, let your gut and your lungs recover, get back up and hit someone! Right?
As I watched (most of) the rest of this game, I saw some serious leadership truths exposed. And most of what I saw, I pray I'm never guilty of. For instance, the defense for the Cowboys started this game with 2 interceptions - straight out of the gate! The first 10 points on the board might have been scored by the Cowboys offense, but the defense was responsible for them. But the instant those same 11 defenders stepped back onto the field AFTER their Quarterback had been injured, it was like they had forgotten how to play football. Eli Manning picked them apart like they were only 6 of them out there. And if you know the Cowboys, you know that they've purchased several All-Pro players on their defense. At least, I thought.
I watched one offensive series where the play calling from the Offensive Coordinator and the expression on the faces of the players on the sideline and the effort and attitude of the players on the field basically communicated to the back-up QB, "We know that you're the back-up, and that you have no ability to actually make something happen or win this game, but we're going to try and pretend that it's all going to work out and that we believe in you." Yaaaayyyy. Jon Kitna had to have felt like more like a pile of cow DUNG than a Cowboy. Always good for your self-confidence.
But the thing that really struck me the most was the lack of leadership from Tony Romo. Last night proved in crystal clear fashion that your title or position means NOTHING compared to your actions and attitude. In the words of Julius from Remember the Titans, "Attitude reflect leadership!" I've seen Quarterbacks in the NCAA and NFL get injured before. Many times. And I've watched them light a fire underneath the seat of their team by simply standing up, staying present, and saying with the expression on their face, "You can do this!" Not Tony Romo. He stood their on the sideline looking like a 3rd grader who'd just been benched for bad grades. I know, it's painful and it sucks to have your collarbone broken, but take some Advil and GET OVER IT! You're a PROFESSIONAL! Any "leader" who lives in a world where their team's ability to rise or fall - win or lose - totally depends on them, is not really leading their team. The look on Tony Romo's face - the attitude that was oozing out of him and spilling over onto every other player on that sideline and field - was painfully obvious: "Well guys, we're done." And how do you think that running back who missed his blocking assignment feels this morning? Probably like he is singlehandedly responsible for screwing up the rest of the team's season. Sucks to be him!
Tony Romo, I know you don't get this or see this right now, but this is actually your BEST opportunity to lead that you might ever have in front of you. What are you going to do with it? Are their 22 guys on that field....or 1?
This Sunday I'm preaching about the biblical principle of "Shared Leadership" - how God's design for His church(es) is NOT for one man to run the show. That point was visibly proven last night on Monday Night Football.