Sucks to be Tony Romo: A Dallas Cowboy Profile

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Eli Manning has recently taken credit for being the perfect example of what a big game QB is. He has a career QB rating of 81.1 throwing a ridiculous amount of interceptions and embarking on annual streaks of ineptitude.  When the playoffs begin it’s a different story. Eli’s post season QB rating is a much more impressive 89.3 good enough for 9 all-time. That’s still only eight points above Romo’s postseason rating but since he won two Super Bowls – we are impressed. The only QB with a bigger postseason rating improvement over the regular season is Mark Sanchez. Yes, that Mark Sanchez. Mark is ranked #131 all-time QB rating but in the postseason he blasts up to #6 all-time with a 94.3 rating. Does this say Sanchez is clutch? Does it say he has proven he can get it done? Does it say he gives you a better chance in the postseason than Romo? Well, just looking at the numbers, it kinda does. But luckily we have eyes. The eyes can see what’s really going on. We have brains. Our brains can read the real story. Some of us just chose to ignore it and take an It Is What It Is / Numbers Don’t Lie attitude. Do you really think Sanchez made his team win or do you think his defense played a bigger role? Do you think that might have had more to do with his gaudy playoff numbers than Mark’s individual talent? Look at Eli Manning now. Do you honestly think Manning would have the success he’s had if he was playing on the Cowboys? Do you think he’d even still be in the league if he was playing behind this Dallas Cowboys offensive line? These are questions worth asking aren’t they? It’s not as easy as just spitting out QBR’s and playoff records in order to explain the worth of a QB.

Oct 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked by New York Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph (97) in the third quarter at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Romo does have a losing playoff record that much is true. Without diving too deeply into it try to remember back. Tony essentially won his first playoff game as a QB vs Seattle. Romo the holder dropped the snap and lost the game. True, it was still him but he did the hard part of it and fell victim to a fluke. Also try to remember the league even felt the shiny ball was suspicious enough to institute a rule ensuring teams could not tamper with kicking balls anymore.

The great year of 2007 was when the Cowboys were upset by the New York Giants on their way to their first Super Bowl. Analysts are eager to say the game ended because of the Romo interception but the reality was, it was fourth down, end of the game, and Romo was just throwing one up for a chance. He could have just thrown it away, accepted the loss, and improved his QB rating to around 90, but he wanted to win. Also remember how poorly the offensive line was that day and how he was running for his life all afternoon.

In 2009 he earned his first win in the postseason. The Cowboys followed that up with one of the worst offensive line performances by a playoff team all-time. Romo was destroyed and so was the offensive line that offseason.

That all lead to a 1-3 record. He certainly needs to share some of the blame. After all, great QB’s find a way to win. But what QB could have really won in those situations? The list has to be pretty short. While we’re discussing “short lists”, do you know how many current QB’s have a winning playoff record? Seven. Just seven QB’s can lay claim to that.  They are Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning,  Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, and Mark Sanchez (him again).

This should tell most people that Romo is a very good QB. Most likely he’s a top 10 QB. It would be difficult to make an argument saying otherwise (Not impossible as I know many people are currently accepting the challenge of saying otherwise). This should also reinforce Romo is not elite either. He can carry this team singlehandedly one week, then not at all the next. He’s just not good enough to do it every week all by himself. That’s what he is at this point. It’s possible he could improve this late in his career but not very likely. That’s really ok too. While he takes all the blame, he’s not the problem with this team.

Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) gets pressured Cleveland Browns linebacker D

The problem with this team starts at the top. Jerry Jones’ open door is actually a detriment to the coaching staff. Players have two bosses and as long as they keep one happy they are going to be fine. Jason Garrett preaches but does not practice accountability. No player is in fear of losing his job because there are no consequences. Sometimes a coach needs to bench the starter and play the less talented back-up in order to send a message. Garrett refuses to send the message therefore the players have no reason to listen.

The team is disorganized. How many times have we seen defensive players late to enter the field? It should have cost us the game on Sunday. Players are dumb. Blame coaching, blame players, blame everyone. Regardless who you blame these guys are the dumbest team in the league. Finally – Horrible talent evaluation. How does Orlando Scandrick have a job let alone a sizable contract extension? He is bad. He’s always been bad. He will always be bad. Add him to the ever-growing list of defensive back failures this team has missed on. We pray Barry Church is the answer but we really have no idea. The club has missed on the 13 that came before him, they’re bound to hit on one sooner or later, right? The offensive line is even worse. The list of wasted OL draft picks has reached epic proportions. The line has underperformed even the most modest of expectations. They are bad. They are horrible. They are dangerous and embarrassing. The only QB that could successfully operate behind this line is probably Aaron Rodgers (very elite).

Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) avoids the tackle during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Browns 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Why does it suck to Romo? Because he plays with dumb and untalented players and when they screw up, he takes the heat. How many times can the receivers run the wrong routes?  Dez finally got through a game where he didn’t run the wrong route. How bad does that sound? NFL QB’s don’t throw to players, they throw to places on the field. When a player doesn’t go where he’s supposed to go, the ball can easily be intercepted. You have to feel bad for Romo when he throws a perfect pass and it gets intercepted because the receiver ran the wrong route. At the end of the game the route error is forgotten and everyone pins the error on Romo.

His struggles don’t end there. The offensive line is one of the worst in the league. Romo gets run over, sacked, hit, and hurried far too many times. He looked like he was going to kill them on Sunday as they gave up sack after sack. Do you really wonder why Romo gets a little skittish in the pocket and throws a dumb pass from time to time? This line is so consistently awful that when they do effectively pass block, he just can’t believe it. Do you know what Aikman would do to these guys if they were blocking for him. He would epically berate them and demand their replacement (as soon as he was released from the hospital). When a Cowboy screws up Romo usually takes the blame. We all know we shouldn’t do this but for some reason it’s just easier to blame him.

Oct 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) scrambles against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The haters are gonna hate. We know this too. If you hate Romo you may abide by the simplistic, “We’re never going to win in the postseason with Romo as our QB”, not much can probably be said to change your mind. The funny thing is a saying like this can’t even apply to Mark Sanchez. He’s one of the worst QB’s in the league and he proved a QB CAN perform well if the team around him is good enough. The worse your QB, the better those around him needs to be. The better the QB, the worse the team can be. If you believe Romo needs to be replaced, then you must believe 90%+ of the roster needs to be replaced. Which might not be a crazy thought.

Tony Romo will continue to take heat for others mistakes. He will also make just enough mistakes on his own to validate the hate. If he was on any other team it wouldn’t be like this but alas, it is the Cowboys and he is the starting QB. To much is given, much is expected. Somehow he puts up with it. Most couldn’t handle it or would at least flip out during the postgame interviews every week. He’s not elite but he’s still pretty darn good. The Cowboys CAN win with him. It’s the other 90% of the roster you should be worried about.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo

  • Sam Rosenbalm


    Pure, logic.

    I dare anyone to disagree with what was written, as doing so only proves a bias against Romo.

    They can spin it anyway they want, but what you wrote were facts.

    To hell with the haters.

    I believe with a great offensive line Romo would be elite. I believe he is better than Manning (NY).

    1. Brady
    2. Rodgers
    3. Brees
    4. Peyton Manning
    5. Romo

    • idris

      Agree 100%

  • Big D Fan

    This year yes, but Romo hasn’t always played behind a bad o-line. He makes bad decisions with the football. You can claim they are bad routes all you want. Look at the interceptions. Even if its a bad route, it can be identified before throwing the ball. But he will throw it anyway. He is anti-clutch. When the game is on the line he just doesn’t get it done.

    • Gary Hermenau

      That’s not true at all, or are you forgetting his broken shoulder? Good QB’s always have time to throw the ball. I’ve seen Brady have as much as 6 to 7 seconds to throw the ball. Romo is lucky if he get 2 seconds.
      Sooner or later the QB has to throw the ball. He has to try and make something of nothing, even if it means risking an interception.

    • philyew

      Strange then that his 4th quarter rating is so good. Strange that he has thrown the third highest number of 4th quarter TDs over the last six years, and has the fourth highest total yards. Even stranger that so-called “clutch” players like Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have all thrown more 4th quarter interceptions.

      As Reid correctly points out, even when the OL was demonstrably better than this year’s edition, it was their monumental melt-downs against the Giants in 2007 and the Vikings in 2009 which doomed the post season attempts.

      Every mistake on Romo’s shoulders is amplified by 3-4 equally damaging mistakes by others. But in the end they all get dumped on him.

      Blaming Romo for the consistent failures on the team is a convenient way of not coming to terms with reality: Jerry Jones lucked into his early success because he allowed Johnson more power and authority than he has ever allowed since. Without the core of the team that Johnson built, the Cowboys have been little more (and often less) than mediocre for the last 17 years.

      Until Jones recognizes this and appoints a “football” GM with real authority, the personnel inhabiting the Cowboys’ roster will never add up to a Championship-winning team…or anything close.

      Romo may not be “elite”, but do you really think that this team could succeed consistently with all the other negatives at play, simply as a result of changing the QB?

      • Artie C

        agreed. and like this article mentions, we have eyes, and can anyone tell me that Brady would still be playing football playing behind this offensive line? Brady would have been killed, so would Peyton or our own Aikman for that matter.

    • FoxHunt

      Some of his lines have been OK, but he’s never had a 20 interception season. Eli has 2, and Brees has 2 or 3. In fact, since 2006, Romo is third among starting quarterbacks in least turnovers…behind Brady and Peyton.

      He’s also never had a top ten pass defense…which is a must to win any playoff games.

      • Artie C

        among all the stats shared in this story and comments, these were the most compelling to me: 3rd among starting QBs in least turnovers and never having a 20 interception season like Brees and Eli manning have. Romo has Jason Witten, thats it. No other player on this offense can be trusted – and this year, Witten couldn’t be trusted for a couple games. Romo seems to have lost a little velocity in his passes, other than that, his offensive line is not smart or athletic and garrett’s play calling is too complicated with too many checks.

    • ctcowboy1968

      It’s the Dallas D that can’t get it done. Up til this year, the D couldn’t hold Tony’s double digit lead with 5 minutes to go. And this year, the D can’t stop the other team from either scoring at will or getting a 3rd down stop on the opponents winning drive.
      Without Tony, this team doesn’t win any games. We always have a chance with Tony. He runs a great 2 minute drill. It’s not his fault Dez’s fingernails landed out of bounds vs the giants. Or that Bailey missed a 51 yarder vs the Ravens.
      He plays behind the worst OL in history. Both Mannings, Brady, Brees, etc, who stand like statues in the pocket, would be killed.
      Tony is having a bad INT (14) year which is directly connected to this awful OL. Brees makes $20 million per year and sets annual passing records and has 12 INTs (2 pick sixes last game vs the 49ers to lose that game). So does Brees suck?
      Tony carries this team. He is the most competiive player out there. He is not afraid of carrying the rock to win the game.

    • idris

      QB’s throw the ball before receivers break and come out of their routes. Their job is to trust the WR to run the correct route without hesitation. Timing and sync come into play.It is solely the receivers job to make sure he is running the right route. The QB is reading the D and going through progressions and expecting every WR to be where they are supposed to be without excuse.

  • Gary Hermenau

    If you swapped Romo for Brady, the performance of both teams would be about the same.

    • Cowgirlcas22

      as far as Brady goes his results would be much worse he is as immobile as they come.

    • ctcowboy1968

      I agree with Cowgirl, Brady wouldn’t last to half time behind the Cowboy’s OL. If he wasn’t dead, then he would be crying like a baby on national TV. Tony deserves combat pay for what he has to endure.

  • Cowgirlcas22



  • Cowgirlcas22

    THE OTHER POINT IS WHEN ROMO HAD T.O AND A DECENT RUNNING GAME, HE WAS AVERAGING 26 PTS A GAME, BUT THE DEFENSE Was giving up 28 he has been doomed for years. I think he would be a fool to sign an extension with Dallas there are too many teams with all the right tools but need a QB, who would sell the farm to get him. just look what AZ gave up to get a scrub like Kolb. this is a QB starved league and as for the haters, if Tony goes to another team and wins a Super Bowl then they will all say JJ was an idiot for letting him go. This is just how cynics are. they are never happy. maybe they need to recollect the lsit of QB’s after Aikman,