Debunking the Myths Surrounding Dallas Cowboys’ Quarterback Tony Romo

I must confess; this was the very first article I wanted to write when I first joined The Landry Hat. However, I decided to wait until I could gather more information as I continued to work on this piece. But the main reason I wanted to write this article is because Dallas Cowboys’ fans have become spoiled. They have forgotten how fortunate we are  to have a franchise quarterback and really only a handful of teams in the league can say that.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I remember all too well what the team was like before Tony Romo joined the Cowboys. I remember how it feels to have no hope going into the season because the team had average talent at best at the quarterback position. This week just confirmed it for me as NFL Network replayed the Hard Knocks episodes from the 2002 season when Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson were competing for the starting job in Dallas. I remember Randall Cunningham, Clint Stoerner, Ryan Leaf, Anthony Wright, Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson and Drew Bledsoe.

So in order to get the Dallas Cowboys fans to realize how great a quarterback Tony Romo really is, I am going to take on every argument against Romo.

I initially wanted to write an article comparing Tony Romo to some of the so-called “elite” quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning while also debunking the theory that Tony Romo isn’t clutch. But every debate I have had with someone concerning Romo vs Ben/Flacco/Eli always seems to resort back to their Super Bowl wins. And I get it. The object in football is to win a Super Bowl. I just don’t believe it is that black and white because football is quite frankly the ultimate team game.

So instead, I decided to compare Tony Romo to the next tier of quarterbacks. I left out young players such as Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson because they have too small  a sample size to argue with. Below is the list of players I decided to compare Tony Romo to:

Matt Stafford – 1st overall pick in 2009

Matt Ryan – 3rd overall pick in 2008.

Phillip Rivers – 4th overall pick in 2004.

Jay Cutler – 11th overall pick in 2006.

Sam Bradford – 1st overall pick in 2010.

All of these quarterbacks are considered franchise quarterbacks and yet their perceived expectations are all lower than the undrafted Tony Romo.

#1. Tony Romo isn’t clutch in the fourth quarter.

I was tempted to just show the fourth quarter quarterback rating from 2004-2012 and leave it at that.

Highest Fourth Quarter QB Rating 2004-2012

Player

Comp %

TD/INT

QB Rating

1. Tony Romo

63.8

56-22

101.9

2. Aaron Rodgers

63.2

43-16

100.2

3. Peyton Manning

65.4

54-17

100.1

4. Tom Brady

62.8

59-25

95.4

6. Drew Brees

63.6

65-41

90.2

15. Eli Manning

58.8

66-42

85.1

Tony Romo is the highest fourth quarter passer since he came into the league. That cannot be argued. Another stat that seems unbelievable is that Tony Romo has more fourth quarter comebacks in his career than Mr. Captain Comeback himself, Roger Staubach himself. Let that sink in for a second. In 90 games, Tony Romo has managed to have 18 fourth quarter come from behind wins and 19 game winning drives.

Only Peyton Manning (38), Tom Brady (26), Eli Manning (24) Ben Roethlisberger (22) and Drew Brees (20) have more fourth quarter comebacks than Tony Romo (18). And yet, all of those quarterbacks have more career starts than Romo.

In 2012 alone, Romo had five fourth quarter comeback wins that all were the result of a game winning drive by Mr. Romo.

#2 – Tony Romo isn’t an Elite Quarterback.

This is such a broad statement because what is an elite NFL quarterback? Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford are considered elite NFL quarterbacks, but why isn’t Tony Romo? Let’s examine the stats. Listed below are the career averages for each player

Player

Completion %

Yards

TDs

INTs

QB Rating

Tony Romo

64.7

3,952

27.4

13.9

95.6

Matt Stafford

59.8

4,544

28.3

19.2

82.8

Matt Ryan

62.7

3,888

26.08

12.3

90.9

Phillip Rivers

63.6

3,840

25.9

11.2

94.5

Jay Cutler

60.8

3,664

23.4

17.3

84.1

Sam Bradford

58.3

3,568

17.2

12.9

77.3

Statistically, Romo again is one of the most prolific passers out of this bunch. Romo posted the highest completion percentage, QB rating and the second highest touchdown rate of the group. But yet, Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford are annually considered to be elite, while Tony Romo is considered by most to be a middle of the pack quarterback.  

#3 – Tony Romo is Turnover prone

One of the biggest reasons why Tony Romo is considered turnover prone is because we see his interceptions and fumbles time and time again on highlights. The media makes it seem like Romo is the most turnover prone quarterback in the league, and a large part of that may be due to the constant comparisons to Brett Favre. But again, let’s use the stats to see how turnover prone Romo actually is. Each players’ career average is listed below.

Player

INTs/Game

INTs/Year

INTs/ Pass Attempt

TD/INT

Tony Romo

0.87

13.92

2.80%

1.95

Matt Stafford

1.2

19.2

2.90%

1.48

Matt Ryan

0.77

12.32

2.27%

2.12

Phillip Rivers

0.7

11.2

2.61%

2.03

Jay Cutler

1.08

17.28

3.38%

1.36

Sam Bradford

0.81

12.96

2.27%

1.32

Matt Schaub

0.8

12.8

2.48%

1.71

Andy Dalton

0.91

14.56

2.70%

1.62

Romo averages less than an interception per game, while posting the third best TD/INT ratio of the group. Romo doesn’t turn the ball over at a ridiculous rate, and yet fans are told the same old story over and over again, Tony Romo is a turnover machine.

#4 – Tony Romo is only good in the regular season. He is much worse in the playoffs.

We have already established that Romo is an excellent regular season quarterback, but his biggest detractors will say that he struggles in the playoffs. The fact of the matter is this; most quarterbacks are better in the regular season than in the playoffs. Let’s compare the same quarterbacks again (with a few extras added) and see how their career regular season stats per game compare to their playoff stats per game.

Regular Season Stats/Game

Player

Yards/game

TDs/game

INTs/game

QB Rating

Tony Romo

247

1.71

0.87

95.6

Matt Stafford

284

1.77

1.2

82.8

Matt Ryan

243

1.63

0.77

90.9

Phillip Rivers

240

1.62

0.7

94.5

Jay Cutler

229

1.46

1.08

84

Sam Bradford

223

1.07

0.81

77.3

Matt Schaub

261

1.4

0.8

91.9

Andy Dalton

220

1.46

0.91

83.9

 

Playoffs Stats/Game

Player

Yards/Game

TDs/Game

INTs/Game

QB Rating

W/L

Tony Romo

208

1

0.5

81.3

1-3

Matt Stafford

380

3

2

97

0-1

Matt Ryan

246

1.8

1.4

84.3

1-4

Phillip Rivers

202

1.1

1.3

81.6

3-4

Jay Cutler

177

1

0.5

84.8

1-1

Sam Bradford

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Matt Schaub

302

1

1

87.5

1-1

Andy Dalton

192

0

2

48

0-2

Do Tony Romo’s stats decrease in the playoffs? Yes. Do most quarterbacks stats decrease as well? Yes (Except for Matt Stafford and his small sample size.)

What Romo has been able to do in the playoffs is keep his turnovers down.

Before anyone dismisses Tony Romo because he hasn’t yet won a Superbowl or that he “only puts up good stats in the regular season” they need to be reminded that there are multiple Hall of Fame quarterbacks who would also fit into the same category. Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, and Warren Moon all failed to win a Super Bowl.  Romo is an elite quarterback in the NFL today. The stats back it up and next week I will demonstrate to you why the film does as well. With Tony Romo at the helm for the Dallas Cowboys, the team always has at least a puncher’s chance to advance deep in the playoffs.

Topics: Dallas Cowboys, Quarterback, The Landry Hat, Tony Romo

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  • Renny Mason

    Love the enthusiasm Marcus! We all know ALL the Romo haters and critics alike will all but disappear when Romo collects the hardest thing of all…a Super Bowl ring. And all the articles we write to defend him will garner much more respect, as I am in the exact same boat as you brother! Congrats on the Cover32 gig with Michael and myself, I’m excited to get started!

  • Dave

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together. This is a great weapon against the legions of Romo haters

  • Jay Harrison

    Unfortunately, Romo is judged by his teams’ performance. I am a huge Marino fan, because I have been a diehard Miami Dolphins fan since I was a small boy in the 1970′s. A lot of people give me crap since Marino failed to win a ring. Well, if that is what it takes, then Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, and Doug Williams were all much better than Marino. I think not. You need to quit trying to convince people otherewise. What makes Romo look bad is the owner as well. It is just a fact of life. People believe what they want, not what is correct. Look at who we have as a President. I am no Romo fan, but I can appreciate your point of view. Good research. Too bad for you, the Cowboys will not win another trophy until Al Davis….um… Jerry Jones relinquishes control. It is that simple.

  • MCA

    Even with ALL this useful information, people will still say how awful a QB Romo is. It’s a losing battle. Even if he wins it all this season he will still get no respect. Every one will be saying, “well look how long it took him.” “He should have won three Superbowls already.”

  • Ronald W. Jones

    One very important statistic you left out. Over the last 3 seasons, Romo has a 17-21 record. But the Cowboys aren’t going to win anything until Jones relinquishes control and hires a ‘football man’ to make personel decisions. We have 17 season of proof that will back up my last statement…..

  • vak 28

    why did you limit this to fairly scrubby QBs? why not show Romo head to head with Eli? Eli is awful and won two SBs because he had more ints directly in the chest dropped than anyone is history. Samuel in the 1st SB, the niners (repeatedly) in the second championship game.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    This article should be mandatory reading for all Romo haters.

  • Jon B.

    here is a stat you missed……….

    Romo is 1-6 in win or go home games!

    He finds Bobby Carpenter in the flat for a pic six and regularly snatches defeat from the jaws of a sure win.

    He is, as your stats suggest a FANTASY QB and a very good one, he is not however a playoff caliber Super Bowl winning QB.

    He does have precedent for such a career and redemption should he chose to do it, and Peyton Manning a name that keeps getting mentioned around Valley Ranch won a lot of games but didn’t get a SB for a long time.

    Lets see………..no more Cancun, celebrity starlet tequilia swilling………Step One.

    Step 2………..you just secured your financial future and your families and grandkids if you have em………….so how about focusing on FOOTBALL and not oh your driving distance or making the US OPEN. Tiger might be your buddy……….take a page from Mr. Woods and look at his killer instincts…….get a pair for yourself.

    Step 3…………be a leader. Turn your cap around and stop acting like the undrafted free agent. Start by working out with your O LINEMEN.

    Step 4……….study the playbook. repeat step 4. repeat step 4 again. repeat step 4 again and again.

    Step 5……….study the defense of the eagles, skins, and giants. You record against our division rivals is less than stellar…………repeat step 4 and 5 repeatedly until security politely asks you to leave the building.

    Step 6……….read Parcells 12 rules for being a franchise QB. repeat step 4,5 and 6 until security ask you to leave the building.

    Step 7……….admit you have a problem. Jerry Jones is a cheerleader and your boss……..but he isn’t the best GM and he doesn’t always give good council. Call Marty Schottenheimer and ask him to give you advice on your game. Call Jon Gruden and ask for a critique………..and listen to him. Call Cam Cameron and ask for a critique……….and listen to him. Watch film of your best games and what Defense you faced……….watch film of your worst and what defense did………and what YOU DID.

    Step 8………..your offense is predicated on the play action pass. Which, is predicated on a ground game, hand the ball off to Murray and Randle and if they can’t carry the rock find someone that can. Off the street there are guys………….whereever and whatever but don’t audilbe into the pass every freaking play………..we won three SB with a QB that rarely threw for over 250 yards a game………..and he is in the hall of fame for being smart and accurate with the football………..remember a WIN is more important than 400 yards and 4 TD…………INTs are no longer allowed regardless of the number of TDs. It is ok to throw the ball away.

    Step 9……….stop reading your own press clippings, wipe that sh((@! grin off your face and act like a professional.

    Step 10………..don’t read what we write……..we are emotional fans who love our beloved Dallas Cowboys. We love you one week, and we hate you the next……….we felt similarly about Danny White, Gary Hogeboom, and others…………..you have the ability to be a hero and ride off into the sunset as the lone ranger…………victorious……….or you can be the goat. Rest assured the decision is yours………….chose wisely.

    • dooms

      You are correct. I can show you stats to come up with anything. The only one I care about is Ws. 1-6 in elimination games means he had a shot and FAILED. There are no games within that group where he played well enough to win. In fact, as with last year vs Washington, he contributes to the Ls.

      Note Romo is not being compared to the top QBs. Which means even the author must not think he is one. Wheres Brees, Rodgers, Brady etc?

      • utgjohn

        So, by your logic, Demarcus Ware is a failure as well? Jason Witten is 1-6 is win or go home games. Dez and Miles are terrible failures. Jay Ratliff, what a terrible record in win or go home games. DAMN YOU, SEAN LEE AND BRUCE CARTER!

        Sarcasm aside, this is a TEAM sport, dude. I can refute your claims that he lost all of these games like any logical person with half a brain can, but I will stick to the argument that if Tony Romo is a failure and mediocre because of this “Win or go home” record, that so are our Hall of Famers Jason Witten and Demarcus Ware. Team sport. TEAM SPORT. TEAM. MULTIPLE PEOPLE.

        • Rod Gates

          Amen..I think it is funny that everyone seems to easily forget that Football is a team sport. QB’s always get to much credit when things are good and to much blame when they are bad. For all you pretend Cowboys fans that obviously do not remember life before Romo, go find another team to partially support. I for one am glad that Romo came along. GO COWBOYS!!

  • Alfonso Espinoza

    Romo is a guy we should all be rooting for. He is an undrafted player from a small school. He is a good guy, never gets in any trouble with the law or the league. He is charitable with his time and money. I am a fan of the guy, myself, although, I think Jerry Jones makes it hard on all Cowboy’s players and football fans won’t back Tony until he wins a ring. Unfortunate but true, so, as a life long Cowboy fan and a Tony Romo fan, I truly hope they can put together a good offensive line and a great defense soon and win number 6. Go Cowboys!

  • RobotPirateNinja

    I”m pretty sure you left off the top-tier quarterbacks because they make Romo look like what he is…mediocre.

  • Abin

    Your article, while a joy to read, has quite a few grammatical errors.

  • JK

    Unfortunately for Romo (and the Cowboys and their fans) failing at the worst possible moment has become psychological with him. Blame the muffed hold on the attempted FG, because that’s what sent Romo on his spiral, leading to the rest, like the fumble while diving into the end zone, or the interception to Revis which was just ugly.

    This has happened to other good (even great) QBs: Jake Plummer, Jake Delhomme, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Matt Hasselback, Carson Palmer, Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler***…they never (or haven’t) been able to overcome their biggest failure (or chokejob or meltdown) because they never got over it.

    Once it becomes psychological, it can be all but impossible to break.
    And at 33 (already) Romo is running out of time (and chances).

    ***It’s too early to add Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford or Andy Dalton to that list, and I’m not sure if it’s psychological with Peyton Manning or weather-related (he plays poorly when the temp is below 40), though I suppose it could be that the cold weather has become psychological for Peyton…?

  • Taylor

    Your aren’t helping his case when you only compare him to the likes of Stafford, Rivers, Cutler, Bradford, Schaub and Dalton. You should have thrown in Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, and Michael Vick.

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