McNabb, recepient of a 5-year, $78-million contract from Washington in 2010, criticizes Dallas' extension of Romo worth $108-million over six years.

Who Gives a Tweet? McNabb Versus Romo

For Cowboys fans, last Friday was good, much to the incredulity of Donovan McNabb, ex-Eagles quarterback turned NFL analyst, who tweeted last week unfavorably about Tony Romo’s $108-million extension. McNabb cited Romo’s lone playoff win as undermining proof. Never mind that Joe Flacco’s deal drove up the price for all franchise quarterbacks.I wonder if McNabb will expostulate the Falcons next season when they have to extend their one-playoff-win quarterback.

When I saw McNabb’s tweet, only because one of those whom I follow retweeted it, not that I follow McNabb, I quickly went off on him:

@donovanjmcnabb You want to talk about choke artists. You exemplify it, sir.


@mikegianella Don’t let @donovanjmcnabb fool you. He played in 7 OT games prior to 2008. He knew the rules.


@donovanjmcnabb 13/54 when it came to pulling off a 4th quarter comeback. Romo is 18/43, which is second most is team history.


@donovanjmcnabb Tell us how Vick took your job in Philly and then Shanahan benched you for Rex Grossman in Washington. Something to Ponder?


Romo has 10 road comebacks to @donovanjmcnabb’s 5.


@donovanjmcnabb Tell us how you had to leave and miss games with bruised ribs, while Romo played through broke ribs #ftw.


After reviewing the facts, I got some of them wrong, because I was recalling them from memory as I tweeted back at stoplights and intersections. But the overall gestalt of my raving remains true: Donovan McNabb has no validity with which to criticize Romo’s extension using a metric that is used to evaluate a team. This isn’t the NBA where it’s half the players playing both ways. Football is the ultimate team game. You can be an accomplished individual and still get nowhere a championship, as Hall of Famers Dick LeBeau, Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Lem Barney, Jack Butler, Dan Dierdorf, Ernie Stautner, and Sonny Jurgensen all did. Each of those Hall of Famers either lost their lone career playoff game (i.e. LeBeau, Jurgensen) or never even played in one (i.e. Sayers, Butkus). So you can be like failed Cowboys beat writer Josh Ellis and say McNabb has “scoreboard” on Romo, or you can be an informed observer with depth and take a look at Romo in the clutch versus McNabb.

My information comes from that exhaustive three-parter I did a couple of weeks ago on Romo’s comebacks versus over 35 other quarterbacks’ comebacks, both historical and contemporary. How I retrieved it was by going through all of their game logs at and seeing whether or not a comeback was possible. I determined a comeback was possible if the final score was anywhere between 1-8 points.

How I determined who got credit for wins and losses was nuanced. For instance, Romo gets no credit for the Cowboys 11/11/12 win over the Eagles, because it was Dwayne Harris’ punt return and Brandon Carr’s scores that gave the Cowboys the lead. Similarly, I don’t blame the Eagles defense as having given up the lead in the Eagles’ 2005 home match with the Cowboys. They were ahead by 6. McNabb threw a picksix – his fault. He gave up the lead. Also, I lumped the defense and special teams together as a singular unit for the purposes of determining who gave up leads. That’s why there are bolded portions and numbers to the right of each season, indicating the margin gave up for the respective games.

There are three games of note I’d like to point out before showing you the statistics. Firstly, that’s Romo’s 2008 encounter with the Cardinals. A blocked punt returned for a touchdown in overtime was the cause for that loss, so it incontrovertibly can’t be blamed on Romo. Secondly, I am including the 2012 season finale, even though it breaks my 1-8 margin rule, just because it’s the most striking example for Romophobes of how he isn’t quality in the clutch or whatever mediot spin they’re parroting. Finally, Pro-Football-Reference lists McNabb’s 2008 tie in Cincinnati as a “comeback,” but I don’t because getting the win is what makes a comeback a comeback. Would NFL Films hail Roger Staubach as “Captain Comeback” if half of his comebacks ended in ties?

Without further ado:

Tony Romo:

2006 – @CAR, CLT, DET(L), @SEA(L) 1, 7
2007 – @BUF, @DET, PHI(L), NYG(L) 3
2008 – PHI, WAS(L), @CRD(L-OT), @WAS, @PIT(L) 10
2009 – NYG(L), @DEN(L), @KC(OT), @PHI, WAS, @NYG(L), SD(L) 4, 3
2010 – @WAS(L), TEN(L), @MIN(L)
2011 – @NYJ(L), @SF(OT), WAS, DET(L), @NWE(L), @WAS(OT), MIA, @CRD(L-OT), NYG(L) 14, 13, 3, 7, 12
2012 – @BAL(L), @CAR, NYG(L), @ATL(L), CLE(OT), WAS(L), PHI, @CIN, PIT(OT), NO(L-OT), @WAS(L) 1


Donovan McNabb:

1999 – WAS, @WAS(L-OT), @CRD(L) 10
2000 – @GB(L), WAS(L), DAL(OT), @PIT(OT), TEN(L) 1
2001 – RAM(L-OT), CRD(L), @NYG, NYG, @RAM(L) 6
2002 – @TEN(L), @JAX(L) 11
2003 – @DAL(L), NYJ, @GB, SF(L-OT), GB(OT) 1, 1
2004 – @CLE(OT), DAL, NE(L)
2005 – @ATL(L), @WAS(L), DAL(L)
2006 – NYG(L-OT), @NO(L), @TB(L), JAX(L) 17, 7, 1
2007 – @GB(L), WAS(L), CHI(L), @WAS, NYG(L) 3, 4
2008 – @DAL(L), @CHI(L), WAS(L), NYG(L), @SF, @CIN(T), @WAS(L), @CRD(L) 6, 1
2009 – @RAI(L), DAL(L), @SD(L), @CHI, WAS 3
2010 – HOU(L-OT), GB(OT), CLT(L), @TEN(OT), MIN(L), TB(L) 10, 1

Tony Romo’s comeback rate is 18/43, which is 42%. Compare that to McNabb’s 16/54, which is 30%. In order for McNabb to have a better percentage, he would have needed to win 7 more games. Maybe recognizing Kelly Rowland’s boyfriend in a Cover 3 would have helped. Similarly, for Romo to be as bad as McNabb, Romo will need to lose the next 17 fourth quarter comeback attempts.

Admittedly, Romo has only played in 95 games compared to McNabb’s over 170 games. Still, if you cropped it to include McNabb’s first 95 games, he would be 7/33, which is 21%. Even if you decided to start at the end of McNabb’s career and work backwards, it would be 9/26, which is 35%. McNabb’s fourth quarter comeback prowess is light in the loafers, no matter how you slice it.


Another glaring truth is McNabb was never tasked to do as much as Romo. You’ll notice in 2008 that McNabb had 8 comeback attempts. Compare that to Romo’s record-setting 11 in 2012. Furthermore, the most comebacks McNabb ever had in a season were 3 in 2003. Romo had nearly double that this past season, which led the league in fourth quarter comebacks. In 2003, Jake Delhomme had the most fourth quarter comebacks with 5, and never in McNabb’s career did he ever lead the league in comebacks. In fact, “Cheesecake Factory” led the league in fourth quarter comebacks in his wasted career.

“Well, it’s all about the playoffs anyway,” you, the neuron-deficient schmuck who chews on his shirt collar, may say. To that, you need to examine their playoff games, especially what the rest of the team was doing. For instance, in McNabb’s playoff wins, the Eagles defense forced two sacks and two turnovers on average. Compare that to the Cowboys defense forcing three sacks and only one turnover on average in “Romo’s playoff losses.” And I haven’t even explored defensive scoring either, which Jim Johnson’s Eagles did in the playoffs. You want to know the last time the Dallas Cowboys scored a defensive touchdown in the postseason? The 1996 wild card playoffs against Minnesota when George Teague picked off Brad Johnson; go watch that on the Cowboys history DVD sometime.

So the defenses have blame and have credit for these two quarterbacks’ respective careers. In Romo’s 25 failed comeback attempts, 13 of them have been the defense surrendering a fourth quarter lead. That’s 52%. For McNabb, 16/38 (42%) of his losses were due to the defense surrendering a fourth quarter lead. But six of those were due to coordinators not named Jim Johnson. Even when adjusted for Jim Johnson’s sole presence, McNabb’s “blown-leads-by-defense” percentage drops to 31%.

The one error I made, which was retweeted as fact, was Romo’s road comebacks versus McNabb’s. McNabb actually has 8 road comebacks, but Romo still has 10. Still, half of Romo’s comebacks were against teams with winning records at the time. Only three of McNabb’s road comebacks came against teams with winning records.

Then we’ve got overtime too. Romo is 5-3 in overtime, while McNabb was 6-5-1. In the past two seasons, Romo has played in 6 overtime games. It took the last seven years of McNabb’s career to play in 6 overtime games.

Here’s another interesting thread. Do you want to know what the Cowboys’ record is when Romo is out of the lineup or playing through injury? 6-9. McNabb was injured and missed games in 4 seasons. The Eagles were 16-20. They not only made the playoffs in 2002, but won a playoff game in 2006 – all without McNabb! The Dallas Cowboys have yet to make the playoffs in Romo’s injury-riddled seasons.

Romo deserved that $108-million contract because he is that valuable to this team, in spite of the paltry 1-3 playoff record that is solely attributed to him. Now that we’ve got our quarterback for now, let’s build a better team to go with him.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Donovan McNabb The Landry Hat Tony Romo

  • Moby Dick

    You take McNabb’s comments and make it a comparison between the two? McNabb simply stated that Romo did not deserve the exuberant amount his ‘buddy’ Jerry gave him, that’s all. Why do you idiotically start comparing the two as if McNabb was the one making the money.

    Also, if you are all about comparos, McNabb has far more playoff wins, SB appearance, 5 NFC Championship games, more regular season wins, more playoff wins, etc etc., but that’s not what this is about. You completely miss the point. You really shouldn’t be writing articles, go back to flipping burgers.

    • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

      You miss the point. McNabb stated a reason why Romo did not deserve the contract he was given and Mark states why McNabb history of his own failures did not qualify him to point out Romo’s as a reason why he did not deserve the contract. If you are going to comment on an article you should first read and understand it.

  • billy

    great article, who would pay mcnabb for football analysis anyway? when did he get where anyone would be interested in his opinion? why dont we look at his records and see how much money he handed back to the eagles for failing to reach the superbowl? im sure it was a considerable sum. also how many championships did he lead his team to without a respectable running game and defense? not to even mention tony romos ass would make him a good sunday face

  • Glenn Deltondo

    First off a pretty good piece here from Lane. Second, we’re talking about McNabb and his rant. Seemed to recall that when he signed a 5 year deal for 78M with the Redskins that it was viewed pretty much the same way. An insane deal for a washed up QB, not someone in his prime. That’s what QB’s get and Romo’s deal is really at market value, for that 2nd tier of those not having won a SB. If you really look at his deal it’s only a 3 year extension beyond 2013. Football contracts, look at the guaranteed money and that tells you the true length of the deal. The added years serve to spread out the signing bonus.

  • Richard Storm

    You can’t use logic with these retard Romo haters…Especially with those fake Cowboys fans who hate Romo. They are the worst people on the planet. They are pukes. They are the lowest form of life on Earth. They aren’t even human fuckin’ beings. They are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! They must be destroyed before Romo leads the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win and those fake Cowboys fans come out of the wood works and lie their asses off by saying that they’ve supported Romo all this time! There is no other way.

  • sec234

    how many times did romo take his team to the championship game?

    • Richard Storm

      What does that have to do with anything, moron? How many times did Akiman take the Cowboys to the Super Bowl? The answer is zero. It was Emmitt’s team, not Aikman’s team. No Emmit, no Super Bowl. Ether way, the Cowboys still wouldn’t have gone to the Super Bowl without their awesome 1990s defense, their awesome offensive line, and their clutch receivers. Can you name a time when Romo had all of these at the same time? I love Aikman, but that is the truth. Football retard, you are. Maybe you should watch soccer, instead.

  • ‘mericas_team2013

    Playoffs???? Whatever, Look at McNabb what is his record in the playoffs? How many playoff wins does he have??? Yet he still has one thing in common with Romo NO SUPERBOWL TITLE!!! Even playoff wins don’t mean a damn thing without the championship. Everyone of you would still be screaming for Romo’s head if he had led the team to 5 NFC title games and a SuperBowl or two but still not won at least one of them. Regardless of how many wins Romo or McNabb have in the playoffs, they will both go down as failures in most peoples eyes….

  • Brandon Dowdy

    haha Great Article! Glad someone put McNabb in his place.

  • Cowgirl

    You’re an idiot if you think romo is in the same conversation as mcnabb.