Have you ever had the “Tony Romo Conversation/Debate” with someone, and in doing so, actually CHANGED their mind or attitude regarding the highly controversial quarterback?
Most times, the answer to this question will be a resounding no. Most times, especially after a loss, fans are too emotionally charged to see past their preconceived notions when it comes to Tony Romo. There is nothing one can say, and especially no statistic to point out, that will alter their perception.
So why even have the conversation/debate in the first place?
Because we are football fans, it’s what we do; and more importantly, we are Dallas Cowboys fans. It’s in our blood; we are a loud and proud bunch (some MUCH more than others).
As I pointed out in Part I of this conversation last week, Tony Romo, in my opinion, is not “elite.” In other words, he is not capable of carrying the ENTIRE team on his back DESPITE their weaknesses and STILL win consistently. But only three or four quarterbacks in the league are capable of this anyway.
So why then does Romo, one of the most hated and talked about athletes in sports, constantly live “under the microscope?” Why is he judged and scrutinized more than any other quarterback in the NFL? Why such high expectations?
Every single throw he makes, every touchdown pass, every record he breaks, every quote or sound bite, every game lost or won and especially every interception that results in a loss, becomes magnified beyond belief because of that star. Every franchise quarterback we have had, from Don Meredith in the 1960’s to Troy Aikman in 1990’s, and now to Tony Romo in the 2000’s has lived with that same pressure and expectations. And every franchise quarterback has dealt with it in their own unique way.
Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman (who are both known fans of Romo) were the more “natural brash leaders”, and they have five Super Bowl rings between them to show for it. They were both obsessed with winning and doing anything and everything within their power to help their team win. One could argue though, and many opposing fans certainly would, that neither was in fact “elite.”
They needed the help. However, the difference with Staubach and Aikman was, they both actually received the help, and PLENTY of it. They both had Hall of Fame offensive linemen protecting them (Rayfield Wright and HOF newcomer Larry Allen) among many other dominant offensive linemen, they both had Hall of Fame wide receivers catching passes (Bob Hayes, Lance Alworth and Michael Irvin), they both had Hall of Fame running backs to take the pressure off (Tony Dorsett for three years with Staubach, and the legendary Emmitt Smith).
Not to mention the championship caliber defenses. I think one was referred to as “Doomsday Defense.” Add superior coaching and drafting to the list as well.
Also, I can’t believe I never realized this before, but in all EIGHT of our Super Bowl appearances, we have boasted a top-3 offensive line, according to Jeff Sullivan (a.k.a the “Bald Head”). A top-3 offensive line in EVERY Super Bowl appearance! A mere coincidence? Not a chance!
Which brings us back to Romo. Want to take a wild guess of how many sacks Romo has endured under our porous offensive line the past two seasons? If you guessed 72, you would be correct (a career high 36 in each season in fact). Without a doubt, he would probably want guards Chance Warmack (Alabama) or Jonathan Cooper (UNC) with the 18th overall pick this April.
Another interesting tidbit I researched lately was game-winning drives. Everybody knows about Staubach’s famous mark of 23 in this category. Few fans know that Aikman is right behind with 21. Even fewer fans know that Tony Romo currently sits on 19 game-winning drives in his seven year starting career, accumulating five in 2012 alone and four in 2011. Want to know Tony Romo’s career 4th quarter passer rating, 102.9 folks. And again, that was 19 game-winning drives since 2006.