Antonio Ramiro “Tony” Romo is an American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.
Romo was born in San Diego, California, while his father, Ramiro Romo, Jr., was serving in the United States Navy, and his mother, Joan (Jakubowski) Romo, was a store clerk. His family returned to their home in Burlington, Wisconsin. Romo played baseball as a child and was selected to the Little League All-Star team.
Romo started as quarterback for the Burlington High School Demons beginning as a junior (1996 season). In the 1997 season, Romo and the Demons finished with a 3–6 record, though he earned several honors, including the All-Racine County football team and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State first team honors. Romo also was a starter on the BHS varsity basketball team and also played golf and tennis. Romo graduated from Burlington High in 1998
Romo attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, where he played for the NCAA Division I-AA Eastern Illinois Panthers football team. As a sophomore in 2000, he ranked second in Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 164 of 278 (59%) passes for 2,583 yards and 27 touchdowns. After the season, he was honored as an All-America honorable mention, an All-Ohio Valley Conference member, and the OVC Player of the Year. As a junior, he led Division I-AA in passing efficiency, completing 138-of-207 passes for 2,068 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Romo earned OVC Player of the Week honors on October 14, 2002 after his eight-yard scramble run on the last play of the game led Eastern Illinois to a 25-24 win over Eastern Kentucky.
On December 19, 2002, Romo became the first player in Eastern Illinois and Ohio Valley Conference history to win the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the top Division I-AA football player. He finished his career holding school and conference records with 85 touchdown passes. He was second in school and third in conference history with 8,212 passing yards and second in school history with 584 completions and 941 attempts. As a senior, he set school and conference records for completions with 258 in 407 attempts for 3,418 yards. This was second in conference and third in school history for a season. He threw for 34 touchdowns and scored one rushing touchdown. Romo’s 3,149 yards in total offense as a senior ranked third in school and conference history. Along with the Walter Payton Award, Romo earned consensus All-America honors. He was also selected All-Ohio Valley Conference and was named OVC Player of the Year for the third straight year.
During homecoming weekend on October 17, 2009, Eastern Illinois University retired Romo’s No. 17 jersey and inducted him into EIU’s Hall of Fame. Romo is the first Eastern Illinois player to have his number retired.