October 14, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) signals the offense against the Baltimore Ravens at M

Tony Romo: Comeback King, Part III


In Part I, we examined Tony Romo’s comeback attempts and wins versus the rest of the franchise. In Part II, we measured him against his peers. Now, in this concluding  installment, we’ll take a look at Tony Romo’s comeback attempts and wins versus the all-time comeback greats.

The 20 quarterbacks that I defined as comeback greats are as follows: Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton, Len Dawson, Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, Dan Fouts, Jim Hart, Brian Sipe, Dan Marino, John Elway, Warren Moon, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Dave Krieg, Steve Young, Brett Favre, Vinny Testaverde, Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb, and Steve McNair. This is in addition to the Cowboys’ five franchise quarterbacks (including Romo) in Part I and the 14 of Romo’s peers in Part II. Yes, I added some all-timers between last week and now for a grand total of 38 quarterbacks.

Like last week, when Romo does not qualify for the Top 5, I’ll list his statistics nonetheless. This time, I’m going to show you who’s higher than Romo or about the same. By a great’s absence, you’ll be able to tell Romo is better than them in that category.

How I retrieved my data was by going through every box score of a total of 33 quarterbacks (4 Cowboys, 14 peers, 20 all-time QB’s). My criterion for whether a fourth quarter comeback was possible is if the final score was within 1-7 points in games from 1960-93 and 1-8 points from 1994-present. However, when looking at Len Dawson’s stats, I had to include the 1-8 point rule from 1962-69 when the Kansas City Chiefs were in the AFL, which permitted two-point conversions.

I also made exceptions. Overtime games automatically counted as comebacks due to their sudden death implications. If a game ended with the opposition scoring as time expired or the quarterback was knocked out of the game, then I struck that from the quarterback’s count. So, for instance, I didn’t count the Immaculate Reception against Ken Stabler. However, I did count Super Bowl XXV against Jim Kelly because he failed to lead a comeback. His offense had to settle for a field goal rather than scoring a touchdown and beating the Giants. That’s on him, in the scope of this study.

If there was a picksix or defensive touchdowns that led to the team gaining and retaining the lead, then the quarterback wasn’t credited with a fourth quarter comeback attempt or win.

So how does Romo stand next to some of the all-time greats?

 

MOST COMEBACK ATTEMPTS IN A SEASON

Brian Sipe – 11 (1979)

John Elway – 11 (1985)

Tony Romo – 11 (2012)

Eli Manning – 10 (2011)

Roger Staubach – 9 (1974)

 

Eli Manning is the only quarterback on that list to have gotten into the playoffs after attempting 9 or more comebacks. He’s anamolous. The other three guys couldn’t carry their team into the playoffs, and two of them are Hall of Famers and comeback kings. Why in the world Dallas fans expect Romo to attempt the most number of comebacks in a season in league history and then blame him for the team’s woes is beyond me. Maybe I need to eat more crayons and then I’ll get it.

 

MOST COMEBACK WINS IN A SEASON

John Elway – 7 (1985)

Peyton Manning – 7 (2009)

Eli Manning – 7 (2011)

Brian Sipe – 6 (1979)

Dan Marino – 6 (1992)

 

Tony Romo: 5 (Smith and Roethlisberger have more; Brady, Kelly, and Fouts have the same)

Romo, Sipe, and Elway are the only guys on that list who didn’t make the playoffs. When you have five or more comeback wins in a season, your team should at least get to the conference championship game, as the other guys on the list proved.

 

MOST CAREER COMEBACK ATTEMPTS

John Elway: 91

Brett Favre: 90

Dan Marino: 85

Warren Moon: 85

Vinny Testaverde: 84

 

Tony Romo: 43 (Stabler, Bradshaw, Dawson, Warner, Sipe, Young, Unitas, Manning, and Rivers have more or less comeback attempts within 5; Romo has a higher comeback percentage than Bradshaw, Dawson, Warner, and Sipe)

 

MOST CAREER COMEBACK WINS

John Elway: 37

Peyton Manning: 36

Dan Marino: 36

Joe Montana: 33

Warren Moon: 33

Romo: 18 (Stabler, Fouts, Kelly, Tarkenton, Staubach, Roethlisberger, Brees, Brady, Eli Manning, Favre, Unitas, McNair, Testaverde, Krieg, and Hasselbeck have more; Young and Bradshaw have the same)

 

MOST ROAD COMEBACKS

Peyton Manning: 24

Joe Montana: 19

Dan Marino: 17

Vinny Testaverde: 17

John Elway: 13

Tony Romo: 10 (Moon, Staubach, Eli Manning, Brees, Roethlisberger, Stabler, Kelly, and Fouts have more; Tarkenton, Dawson, Hart, and Rivers have the same)

 

BEST COMEBACK PERCENTAGE

Eli Manning: 58%

Joe Montana: 56%

Matt Ryan: 53%

Tom Brady: 53%

Johnny Unitas: 50%

Tony Romo: 42% (Staubach, Dawson, Young, Elway, Fouts, Kelly, Bradshaw, Brees, Peyton Manning, Sipe, are within 2 percentage points give or take; Krieg and Marino have the same percentage)

 

BEST OVERTIME RECORD

Tom Brady: 9-1

Eli Manning: 7-2

Ken Stabler: 6-1

Jim Kelly: 6-2

Brian Sipe: 6-3

Tony Romo: 5-3 (Aikman, White, Rodgers, Ryan, Brees, Peyton Manning, Rivers, Favre, Moon, Marino, Elway, McNabb, Fouts, Krieg, and Hart have worse records; Flacco has the same)

 

MOST LEADS GIVEN UP BY DEFENSE

Don Meredith – 5 (1963)

Jim Kelly – 5 (1986)

Tony Romo – 5 (2011)

Fran Tarkenton – 4 (1972)

Jim Hart – 4 (1979)

 

It’s worth mentioning again: are we shocked anymore as to why Rob Ryan was fired? If you give each of the 38 quarterbacks an average of 7 seasons, that’s nearly 300 seasons’ worth of games we’ve gone through, and Rob Ryan’s defense gave up 5 fourth quarter leads, ranking among the worst performance in league history. Yet we’re supposed to blame Romo.

 

MOST LEADS GIVEN UP BY DEFENSE IN A CAREER

Fran Tarkenton – 27

Vinny Testaverde – 26

Peyton Manning – 23

Warren Moon – 23

Dan Marino – 23

Tony Romo: 13 (Aikman, Favre, Montana, Elway, McNabb, Fouts, Kelly, Hart, Hasselbeck, Cutler, Sanchez have more; Sipe, Unitas, and Krieg have the same)

 

LARGEST LEAD MARGIN SURRENDERED PER GAME

Dan Marino: 7.3

Tom Brady: 7.3

Fran Tarkenton: 7.3

Drew Brees: 7

Dave Krieg: 6.9

Tony Romo: 6.2 (Hasselbeck, Schaub, Peyton Manning, Sipe, Fouts, and Bradshaw have more; Aikman, Meredith have the same)

 

HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF LOSSES BEING BLOWN LEADS BY DEFENSE

Bart Starr: 71%

Matt Hasselbeck: 64%

Drew Brees: 59%

Johnny Unitas: 57%

Don Meredith: 57%

Tony Romo: 52% (Aikman, Staubach, White, Schaub, Sipe, Montana, Young, and Kelly are within two percentage points of each other, give or take)

 

MOST 10+ LEADS BLOWN BY DEFENSE IN A SEASON

Tony Romo: 3 (2011)

Drew Brees: 3 (2004)

Peyton Manning: 3 (1998)

Dan Marino: 2 (1989)

Troy Aikman: 2 (1989)

 

MOST 10+ LEADS BLOWN BY DEFENSE IN A CAREER

Dan Marino: 8

Drew Brees: 7

Peyton Manning: 5

Fran Tarkenton: 5

Tony Romo: 4

 

MOST OVERTIME GAMES IN A SEASON

Tom Brady: 3-0 (2001)

Drew Brees: 3-1 (2002)

Warren Moon: 2-2 (1994)

Warren Moon: 2-2 (1995)

Dave Krieg: 2-2 (1995)

Tony Romo: 2-1 (McNair, Testaverde, Flacco, Sipe, McNabb have identical records)

 

MOST OVERTIME GAMES IN A TWO-YEAR SPAN

Tony Romo: 4-2 (2011-12)

Brian Sipe: 4-2 (1978-79)

Warren Moon: 3-4 (1994-95)

Drew Brees: 3-2 (2002-03)

Joe Flacco: 3-1 (2009-10)

 

Like the past two weeks, the evidence shows that Tony Romo has done his fair share to try to mount comebacks for the Dallas Cowboys. And his efforts have not only put him among the best with the franchise greats and his peers, but also with some of the all-time greats.

If Jerry Jones wants a “Romo better” offense, it starts with a better defense, or at least an offensive line that creates running lanes and pass blocks well. If neither of these three issues are seriously addressed in the draft, get ready for more 8-8 football while laying it all at the feet of the player who makes Atlas look like he’s carrying a school backpack.

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  • Coach Dave

    This is the absolute dumbest writing i’ve ever read! Lane your a bag of hot air dude! All I can say is your steady diet of crayons is really affected your competence as a sports writer! Obviously you dont follow thru a season! When you give the ball up consistently in high stake div. championship game and the only playoff game your in you should do something else for a living! As a life long Cowboy fan I’d rather have Tim Tebow as our QB (romo has no business wearing the blue /silver) SERIOSLY! SICK OF slomo!

    • http://twitter.com/Cowboystephen88 Stephen McGlothin

      Your a n idiot this team would be 2-14 with Tim Tebow as the QB,Romo is not the problem it’s the players around him!!

    • RomoAllDay

      I think you should change your name to Idiot Dave. Anyone who wants Tebow over Romo is a complete moron, and you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. God you’re an idiot.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11900159 Collin Smith

      There is a reason why people like Mark write the articles, people like Stephen and Jerry run teams, and people like Jason Garret coach teams.

      You, “Coach Dave” clearly fall into none of the above categories I’ve mentioned. The only thing that you probably know how to coach is failure.

  • CABOY

    IS THE “TONY ROMO COMEBACK KING SERIES” AVAILABLE IN PRINT?
    i love the series. i’m right with you