Embarking on the Tony Romo Conversation: Part I

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With the Dallas Cowboys, you either unequivocally hate them or you love them. So what would be any different with the franchise quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys? Same thing with Tony Romo; most either hate him or love him. You are either on the side that wants Romo out of town or you are on the side that wishes to see Romo retire as a Dallas Cowboy.

Either way, when it comes to Antonio Ramiro Romo, everybody has their own opinion, and therefore everybody has their side of the fence in which they fall. For myself, I fall on the side voting for Romo to stay exactly where he is; the franchise quarterback and leader of “America’s Team.”

We now arrive at the million dollar question…

Is Tony Romo “elite?”

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) on the field during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-33. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Well first, who exactly is “elite?” Most will agree that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and even current “Cowboy Killer” Eli Manning are in the “elite” category considering they share a combined eight Super Bowl rings between them.

 So again, is Tony Romo “elite?” In my opinion, no, but the conversation does not end there.

If it is me defining “elite,” I put it like this; “Willing AND certainly able to carry the ENTIRE team on his back CONSISTENTLY, DESPITE that team’s apparent weaknesses, and STILL win…CONSISTENTLY”

 Average defense? Does not matter; the game’s “elite” are that great to hide that side of the ball. Stagnant running game or no name wide receivers? Does not matter if your Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Shaky offensive line? If you are among the “elite,” you overcome more often than not. Subpar coaching? In most instances, you are the coach when you are “elite.”

By now, you can clearly see my point. Tony Romo does not fall in this category simply because he NEEDS THE HELP! He needs the steady running game and star receivers, he needs the maulers in front of him blocking consistently (even though many times he can make the absolute worst offensive line performances look average), he needs a defense that does not lose late leads, and yes, he also needs a clever play-caller and brilliant head coach.

After the 2008 debacle (when we ridded ourselves of “The Player,” as Bill Parcells liked to call him) Jerry Jones and company vowed to make the team “Romo Friendly.” Of course, at that time, it meant getting rid of “The Player.” It meant Romo could drop back in the pocket, and scan the field for the OPEN receiver, and not feel compelled to first look in the direction of #81, because #81 would certainly let him hear it when they got back to the huddle.

That 2009 season turned out to be pretty “Romo Friendly” in efficiency standards. Romo threw for 26 touchdowns compared to a 16-game single season career low of only nine interceptions, while compiling 4,483 yards passing on the way to his second NFC East Division crown and the franchise’s first playoff victory since December 28th, 1996.

Since 2009 however, Tony Romo and our Dallas Cowboys have missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons for only the second time in the Jerry Jones era (the first being those dreadful 5-11 seasons from 2000-2002 where a third of our salary cap was tied up in dead money, we also had only ONE first round draft pick and had no quarterback).

Compare those teams to these current Cowboys and the talent pool is very recognizable, but yet, still not a single playoff appearance since 2009.

Now, let’s take a ride on the imaginary rainbow, shall we?

IMAGINE if Tony Romo still had an premier offensive line comparable to 2007 in which we sent three lineman to Hawaii (Leonard Davis, Andre Gurode and Flozell Adams) and Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier were both still in their prime.

IMAGINE if Romo had a 1,000 yard rusher to take some of the much needed pressure off of him and therefore improving his consistency. The closest he came was that same 2007 season with Marion Barber (975 yards). In 2006, the last time we had a 1,000 yard back (Julius Jones); Romo did not have his first start until week 8 vs the Panthers.

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