Last week, I talked about lists. It was so much fun, I decided that this week should also be about lists. Unfortunately, this list isn’t much fun at all. It’s a bit… annoying? A little. Frustrating? That’s closer. Ridiculous? How bout we just go with all three? Yeah, that’s hits the spot. This particular list I am talking about is the 2013 installment of the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2013.
It is supposedly determined by NFL players only. If that is the case, then I hate to say it but the players who vote are not doing anything to dismiss the stereotype of the dumb jock. Currently, players 41-100 have been revealed with such underwhelming and “what are you smoking?” choices as Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta at 100 and Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch at 63.
Six quarterbacks have been chosen so far with Colin Kaepernick the lowest selection at #81, followed by Matthew Stafford at 76, Ben Roethlisberger at 61, Russell Wilson at 51, Cam Newton at 46 and Eli Manning 43. In watching the NFL network’s reaction show after the reveal of players ranked 80-71, Stafford’s inclusion was heavily debated. At that time, they also let the cat out of the bag so to speak and mentioned that 14 quarterbacks will be on this list. We can all do simple math. 14 minus six equals eight. There will be eight quarterbacks left in the top 40. TONY ROMO WILL NOT BE ONE OF THEM…
The final eight, in some order, will almost certainly include the following: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, III and Matt Ryan. All of those guys, based off of their 2012 campaigns deserve to be on the list. The problems I have with the list include the other players. First of all, if you think Pitta or Tulloch are better or more impactful players than Romo, please just stop watching football and get a new hobby. Now, if you want to just compare apples to apples, then I am going to say, again based solely on 2012, only Wilson and Kaepernick deserve to be in front of Romo in the quarterback line.
Let’s start with head-to-head battles. In 2012, Romo bested Roethlisberger at home and Newton and Manning in their own backyards. His only loss was at home to Manning and he never faced Stafford. Eli lost his head-to-head matchup versus Big Ben and Newton lost his to Eli. Stafford rarely beat anyone so I would say the head-to-head round robin battle is won overall by Romo.
Next up, team record. Well, only Eli’s Giants with nine wins was more than Romo’s eight. Roethlisberger also had eight but again, Romo beat Big Ben so that gives Tony the trump. Newton’s Panthers managed seven wins while Stafford’s Lions were horrible, only winning four games. Going off of wins, the final two to make the list should have been Eli and Romo.
Lastly, pure stats… or where we like to say the cream rises to the top. Romo was second in the entire league in completions (Stafford was first), third in attempts (Stafford again was first) and yards (Stafford was second), fourth in completion percentage, sixth in touchdown passes and tenth in passer rating. Neither Manning nor Newton was in the top ten in any of these categories and Roethlisberger was only top ten in passer rating, finishing seventh. Clearly, if you talk in statistical matters only, then Romo and Stafford would be the final two in.
What is even more puzzling is the fact that Romo has steadily declined on each year’s version of this list, even though his play hasn’t. The criteria for the list states that the rankings are generated from voters’ expectations for the upcoming season which they could base on the player’s accomplishments from the previous season.
If this is indeed true, Romo’s 2011 finish of 72 is odd given that in 2010 he only played six games and Dallas was 1-5 at the time of his season ending injury. So then, are you saying you expect Tony to bounce back and have a great 2011? Well, he did, however 2012 would be even more mind-boggling because Romo was voted the 91st best player!?! Based on their own “rules,” Romo should have gone up, not down as he had his best ever passer rating (102.5), the second highest touchdown total of his career (31) and the second lowest interception total of his career (10). All this was done, by the way, playing through a punctured lung and fractured ribs. Now for 2013, he’s just altogether removed from the list despite his career bests in completions, attempts and yards? Seems like there is more to the story than we are told.
At the end of the day, the sad fact remains that nowhere on this list will you see Tony Romo, which is by far and away the most obviously glaring omission and a flat out joke.