Tony Romo begins working the refs in advance of the Cowboys’ game against Denver

Jay Busbee

The Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys are slated to square off on Sunday afternoon. And while anyone not wearing a blue-star tattoo expects Denver to roll handily — the Broncos are roughly eight-point favorites, even on the road — that's not stopping Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo from trying to shade some matchups in his favor.

Romo, speaking to the media on Tuesday, zeroed in on the Broncos' secondary. "They grab, they hold, they've almost put a lot of pressure on the refs – whether or not they're going to call the game close or not," he said. "If they get called once or twice, that's a good thing. But they're all over guys as far as using the little tricks, I guess you could say, that good linebackers and good secondaries use when they're playing man coverage."

Romo also noted that he didn't think the Broncos' secondary had been penalized enough, but as USA Today noted, Denver has had ten penalties in that area: five for defensive pass interference, four for defensive holding, and one for illegal contact. Seven penalties came against the New York Giants, which seems, well, unnecessary.

Obviously Romo's trying to get into the refs' ears even before the game starts, encouraging them to call the Broncos more closely than they otherwise might. Whether you see this as canny gamesmanship or preemptive whining probably depends on how much you like Romo and the Cowboys in the first place.

We await Peyton Manning's reply.

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