Poor Tony Romo.
"Rants & Raves" is back, and the first order of business is -- you guessed it -- a "rant" on fans who won't cut the Dallas Cowboys quarterback any slack after his 18-for-36, one touchdown-one interception performance in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants:
OK, so Romo spent the Cowboys' bye weekend in Cabo with Jessica Simpson instead of staying home and poring over game film of R.W. McQuarters and the rest of the Giants secondary. Maybe the dude just needed to clear his head. It's a long regular season, preceded by a month of training camp and then another month of preseason games, so rest and recreation -- wink, wink, nod, nod! -- definitely was in order.
And, c'mon, it's not like Romo spent the weekend in T-J doing tequila shots off Britney Spears' belly. ...
• Time now for a priceless pep talk with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning:
"Hey, buddy, we know you're pretty disappointed about losing to the San Diego Chargers in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game. We feel for you. We do.
"It happens to the best of 'em. ... Wait, no it doesn't. It didn't happen to the Patriots' Tom Brady on Saturday night. Or Brett Favre on Saturday afternoon ... But you know where we're coming from, right? That 'on any given Sunday' deal the announcers always talk about in an upset?
"Well, lighten up, pal. You still have those rock-hard abs, that high-parted haircut. And, yes, that Super Bowl ring from the 2006 season.
"Look at it this way: You've got two extra offseason weeks to make even MORE product-endorsement money." ...
• In one butt cheek, figuratively, injections of steroids and human growth hormone? In the other, B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine?
Hmmm. How about a small injection of sodium pentathol in the ol' nonpitching arm? That should clear up the "Roger Clemens, did he or didn't he?" debate.
Just kidding. This isn't the old Soviet Union.
But sorry, Rocket, you couldn't have come off looking more guilty in those TV denials if you had a giant hypo sticking out of your heinie. ...
• So disgraced former Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones is crying over being sent to jail for six months for lying about her use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2000 and participation in a check-fraud scam. Waaaah!
So the weepy Jones will have to be away from her two young sons, including an infant, for half a year. Waaaaaah!
Jones did the crime; she should do the time. And just maybe Mommy will send a valuable message to her boys for use as they grow up. ...
• If we're feeling sorry for anyone, it's those poor Olympic relay teammates who lost their gold medals because of Jones' stupidity and selfishness. ...
• We've heard the guards at the correctional facility where Jones is to be housed will be told to keep a close eye on her. Because if the one-time "Fastest Woman on Earth" makes a run for it, well, she can run and run and ...
• There's dumb, and then there's not having all of your lug nuts tightened. The following did not help the "hick" image many nonracing folks hold for those who religiously follow NASCAR:
A York, Pa., man who used drywall compound to make a mask for himself before robbing a bank of more than $7,900 in 2006 was caught immediately -- and finally convicted last week -- because the description of his getaway car included a Rusty Wallace license plate on the front.
Considering Wallace had retired from NASCAR racing a season earlier and there weren't many of his plates around the town of 50,000 residents, 56-year-old Robert Lavery was fairly easy to find.
Of course, the drywall goo caked inside the passenger side of the car pretty much, um, sealed his fate. ...
• Oh, those coy marketing ploys.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in promotion of its NASCAR Weekend that runs Feb. 29 through March 2, is offering a free Neon Garage pass to the "first" paying individuals who have the surname of any candidate involved in Saturday's Nevada caucus.
If your surname is Edwards or Thompson, you already might be out of luck; the offer began Monday. If it's Clinton or McCain, you still might have a chance. If it's Obama or Huckabee, then you probably can wait until 4:55 p.m. Saturday. ...
• If the Speedway folks were real sports -- pun intended -- they'd offer the same deal next week to the first purchasers to show up with the surname of Romo or the given name of Peyton.
Joe Hawk's "Rants & Raves" column is published Tuesdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-2912.