Every year analysts, beat writers, bloggers, Fantasy Experts, radio personalities and league personnel have an annual debate regarding the Dallas Cowboys chances. The question is always this:
Can Tony Romo lead them to a Super Bowl?
Well, while it hasn’t been done yet, let me answer that question with an unwavering and resounding yes.
That Tony Romo has been vilified as “the culprit” in all of the Cowboys struggles is, in essence, rather laughable. I honestly can’t think of a quarterback who, since 2006, has put up the numbers he has and has gotten less credit for where his team is. Not one. When Romo, who since 2006 is 47-30 as the starter in Dallas, took over the job many people were ecstatic by the thought of finally having stability at the Quarterback position. But as the seasons have come and gone and his playoff record has fallen further behind his contemporaries I started to hear other criticisms that weren’t necessarily warranted. Here’s a look at a few.
- Tony Romo is a turnover machine: I venture to say that nothing can be further from the truth. Nothing. Zilch, zip, nada. My assumption is that tag line came from his unfortunate turnover instances in the playoffs but a look at the numbers shows this is a tag that is completely out of nowhere. His touchdown/interception ratio since 2006 has hovered between +12 and +21 (excluding his injury shortened 2010). He maintains that number while still averaging 260+ yards per game. Meanwhile Eli Manning (who I also think is a phenomenal quarterback) has led the league in interceptions (twice), has never been better than +13 TD/INT, and career wise has 23 more fumbles (68) than Tony Romo (45). Another comparison of a two-time Super Bowl champion currently playing is Ben Roethlisberger, whose led the league in interceptions once and has one season (2009) where he was better than +12 also gets a free pass despite turning the ball over more through the air and fumbling more (54).
- Tony Romo can’t get it done in the clutch: Let’s me see if I understand this correctly. 1-4 in the playoffs means we’re going to wipe out any and all chance of us considering that there is more to this than meets the eye? Alright, I’ll give this a whirl. Cowboys fans I have a question for you: Before Tony Romo’s playoff win in 2009 when was the last time you had a win in the playoffs? Don’t worry, I’ll give you that answer: 1996. Your leading passer was Troy Aikman. Word of advice to those who think he should be bathing in playoff victories: It’s hard to win in the postseason. Dan Marino doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring. Neither does LaDanian Tomlinson. The Jets? Haven’t seen that promised land since Joe Namath. The names are endless of those who never got that Super Bowl taste but lets look more recently. Drew Brees has been in the league since 2001 and has five playoff wins to four losses. Take out the Super Bowl run and who do you have? Someone on par with Tony Romo. Aaron Rodgers is 4-2 in the playoffs thanks to a Super Bowl run but lost his first against Arizona and lost again this year to New York. Take away the magical run (I say magical because remember they were a wild card team ) and you’ve got a guy no better than Romo, even statistically. While he hasn’t had that run in the playoffs yet, I don’t doubt he will considering his numbers in the playoffs should be viewed differently when you considered every time he’s lost to the eventual NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Not throwing out excuses, but facts are facts. Sometimes, teams are just better. But if you gave me an 80+ passer rating and are +2 when throwing TD/INT i’m taking you all day.
- Tony Romo is wasting all the talent he’s been surrounded with: This is a new one I’ve heard recently that has confused me as well. Has anyone looked at the Dallas roster and really thought they had a better running back group than Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw? A better receiving corp than James Jones, Donald Driver, and Greg Jennings? Thought they could rush the passer like the Giants, or beat you with a secondary like the Eagles? That’s what I thought. Dez Bryant is extremely talented but has already showed his penchant for immaturity and an inability to consistently stay on the football field. Miles Austin had a breakout 2009 and 2010 but stumbled in 2011 to where many believed he would (and I like the guy). Lets also not be fooled, there is a reason Laurent Robinson has been on three teams before his prime and it has nothing to do with his personality. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the revolving door that is the running back position since Emmitt Smith retired. I also can’t tell you the amount of people who have tried to convince me they can get the job done. When placed in front of you how can you look at this team and say he’s wasting the talent he’s been given when he’s essentially made that talent better all along?
Tony Romo is a top-6 quarterback in the National Football League and I wouldn’t argue with anyone who puts him in their top-5. Dallas fans would be wise to begin giving him the credit he deserves as the best quarterback they’ve had since Troy Aikman.
Funny how quickly we forget Quincy Carter when we taste a little success.