Romo – Are Big Stats Enough?
The argument, that is the career of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, is all about two sides. You either think he’s a very talented quarterback who gets unfairly ripped apart by fans and the media or you take the side that no matter what the stat line reads at the end of a game, it’s all about winning and losing. For the haters, Romo has never won anything, hell I’ve even had people tell me that they follow his golf exploits and they see that whenever he’s tried in the past to qualify for the Byron Nelson Championship or the U.S. Open, he shoots a first round 69 and then comes back the next day with a 79. Their point is that he can’t finish, can’t close the deal, can’t come through when he needs to.
It is a fairly good analogy. A lot of good golfers can shoot low numbers when they play with their buddies or when there’s nothing on the line but put something on it, build the pressure, and they wilt like a frightened turtle. Romo’s history of falling apart in the clutch begins when we first learned who he was. The fumbled snap on the chip shot field goal in Seattle during the 2007 NFC playoffs. Ever since then, all the haters see are interceptions at the wrong time. Turnovers that cost the team games. A lack of fire to motivate his teammates, like great quarterbacks have.
The Romo fans will point out that he can’t do it alone. He’s only had average offensive lines his entire career so the running game hasn’t been there to add the needed offensive balance or he’s had to run for his life and make plays out of thin air. When they don’t all work, he gets the blame, not the 300 pound protector’s who help him up after another sack. When it comes to numbers, you might be shocked at what Romo has done as a Cowboys starter. The Eagles game Sunday was his 100th career start. With the 317 yards he passed for against the Eagles, he has thrown for more yards in his first 100 games than any other quarterback…EVER. That’s Manning, Brees, Brady, Marino, Favre–all of them. That’s almost impossible to believe. He’s number 2 in completions behind Kurt Warner, third in touchdown passes behind Marino and Favre. These are all-time numbers against Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
True, the passing game is a lot different today for most teams than it was 20 or 30 years ago but Marino began his career in 1983, Favre in 1991 and those guys threw the ball a ton. Still there Romo is above them. The difference that everyone will point out, is that with the exception of Marino, they all won Super Bowls. Marino actually got to a Super Bowl but lost. Romo hasn’t whiffed a Super Bowl or even an NFC Championship game. Until he does, the critics will scream, “who cares about stats, give me Roethlesberger and his bad stats and 2 rings.”
My hunch is that however Romo’s career ends, with or without a Lombardi trophy, he won’t really be appreciated until well after he’s done playing. But even without a championship, he has to get the Cowboys at least to a title game to quite some of the haters. One playoff win and all the numbers in the world won’t mean anything when you have a star on the side of your helmet.