Witten was the third-round pick with the expectations. Romo was the undrafted rookie nobody knew.
They have been linked ever since.
That link took on an historical note in Sunday’s 42-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Romo broke Troy Aikman’s team record for career passing yards on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Witten in the third quarter.
“I think right now it’s still too new,” Romo said, “but looking back one day it will be special because me and Jason have been through it all together. We literally were on the same bus from the airport when we arrived in Dallas for our first rookie minicamp. He obviously has a special place in my heart and I want more success for him than maybe anybody on the planet. He deserves it and I want him to have it.
“For him to be the guy is just a bonus. He has done it throughout his career.”
Witten ran a seam route on the second-and-11 play from the Colts 25. Lined up in an empty formation, Romo surveyed the Colts’ defense before finally coming back to Witten, who had a step on the defender. Romo placed the ball perfectly over the linebacker’s helmet, Witten reached out for the grab and the record was his.
“If the defender isn’t looking I always feel like the guy is not covered just because he is not going to have the chance to make a play on the ball,” Romo said. “Even though the defender was in close vicinity, his eyes weren’t there in position to make a play.”
Said Witten, “That was a heck of a throw.”
Romo and Witten have combined for 628 catches for 7,090 yards and Sunday was their 35th touchdown together.
That’s a long way from the courtesy shuttle in 2003.
“I don’t think anybody saw that,” Witten said. “But just the way it’s kind of unfolded for him, it’s pretty special -- undrafted, the backup for three and a half years, the adversity that he’s gone through, not only coming up short in the playoffs but the injuries. Just to continue to battle and play as well as he has, probably the best year I’ve seen him play, it’s special for him. I know he’s going to keep the perspective on playing for more, but when he hits his head on the pillow tonight, he should be proud of what he’s done. It’s remarkable. He makes everyone around him a lot better. He should take pride in that.”