Tony Romo has three sons. He won’t discourage Hawkins, Rivers and Jones from playing football, but the former Cowboys quarterback isn’t going to let them tackle until they are in the eighth grade.
“I don’t think I’ll ever discourage them from doing anything,” Romo told Dr. Phil on the “Phil’s in the Blanks” podcast, via the 105.3 The Fan. “Like to me, it goes back to what you said, ‘If you really like this, go play it.’ What I won’t allow them, from my dad perspective, if everything’s the same as it is 10 years from now, they won’t play tackle football until eighth grade. That’ll be the first time we’ll let them [play tackle football].”
The CBS analyst explained his concern isn’t about concussions, saying, “I don’t think I’d be afraid [of concussions].” But with 7-on-7, young football players have no need to tackle to get better.
“In tennis, you need to go practice to get better at tennis,” Romo said. “The only position I really believe is a craft-oriented position [in football] is the quarterback, where it’s like you physically getting better at throwing does make you better. Most other positions, it’s running; and it’s your vision and your instinct. [You can say], ‘Yeah, you haven’t played football before,’ but you have. It’s 7-on-7.
“A lineman isn’t way more dominant as a sophomore because he played fifth-grade tackle. Your body changes; you get bigger. I don’t think you gain anything from doing it, is what I believe and there’s only a downside [to tackling]. If your kid wants to play, to me, that’s a discussion. But I feel like if I tell them that at a young age, then they’ll understand it’s important to me. ‘You can play football; I’m not saying you can’t.’ I love the game, I know what it’s brought me and my family.”