The NFL offseason begins after the Superbowl, but with Free Agency and The Draft it seems as though the real “off” season starts sometime in late May or early June. The National Football league never really gets a chance to die off before it’s alive and kicking once again with Training Camp and then Preseason. This early July period that we are currently in can be considered somewhat of a “downtime” as far as the NFL is concerned.
During this “downtime”, there is nothing more that can peak the NFL fan’s interest more than lists, rankings, and predictions. Most of the football gurus know this, which is why just about everyone on the mainstream media sites are taking their turns to get those last-minute “fluff” pieces in before the start of Training Camp in a week.
The past few off-seasons’ have been no different and one of the more intriguing rankings is that of former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Ron Jaworski’s. Jaworski or Jaws as he is so accurately nicknamed, has created a ranking of the men under center and most important players on game-day; the quarterbacks. In this routine, Jaws will rank the NFL’s passers’ from thirty-second to first. As many pundits do, he will then give his reasoning on each quarterback’s positioning.
This week Ron Jaworski ranked the often criticized and always publicized, quarterback with the navy-blue star on his helmet; Tony Romo. Where did Tony rank in the eyes of Jaws? Fifteenth, this my friends is where the floodgates open up. Ever since the famed “fumbled-snap” in Seattle on that cold, wet day in January, people have had no grey-area when it comes to one Antonio Ramiro Romo. He’s either loved or loathed with often so much heat LeBron James is impressed. Yet, every single year it seems everyone either puts him on a pedestal or quickly removes him from it.
Now many negative things are said about Romo, some of these for the record are as follows:
- He’s a choke artist. (Romo is 1-3 in the playoffs, but who has their starting QB hold on Field Goals anyhow? Matt Ryan is 1-4 in the playoffs, apparently that’s ok?)
- He’s not clutch in the 4th Quarter. (He ranks 1st for best 4th Quarter Passer Rating.)
- He’s holds the ball too long which leads to his interceptions. (Romo actually has the quickest release according to ESPN and the NFL’s websites, oh and He is 5th all-time with a passer rating of 95.6.)
Those tidbits of information just to name a few, have many Tony Romo apologists smiling and his many detractors snarling in disgust. Nonetheless when a conversation is started about good old number nine, it becomes like politics where your opinion is often met with filibustering garble. If you look objectively at this situation, there is no way that you don’t notice that Jaws is out-of-bounds and for that I throw the red flag. If Tony Romo comes in at fifteenth, then I can’t wait to see which fourteen Quarterbacks are better than Tony. It’s not looking promising with Chicago’s Jay Cutler ranked right above him.
If Tony Romo is not the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, there is ample reason to believe this team struggles to win four or five games. The detractors like to say that Romo simply sucks. In truth, when this team wins he receives none of accolades however you better believe when they lose it is all placed squarely on his shoulders. That is as Stephen A. Smith would say asinine, asi-ten, asi-eleven, and asi-twelve. It’s funny that Stephen A. is also anti-Romo. Let’s go back in time quickly and take a look at Tony Romo’s three playoff losses and his one playoff victory.
January 6th, 2006 Seattle, Where It All Began….
Tony Romo goes 17-29 1TD, 0 INT 189 yards; In Bill Parcell’s fashion instead of sending the punter or anyone for that matter that is not your starting quarterback out to hold on the kick, Romo is sent out there, given a wet ball and fails to convert a go ahead victory without at least a chip attempt from Martin Gramatica.
January 13th, 2008 Dallas, A Fatal Drop…..
After cruising to an NFC’s best 13-3 campaign, Tony Romo goes 18-36 1TD, 1INT, 201 yards; eleven Cowboy penalties later and Patrick Crayton drops the easiest touchdown pass he’s ever had that would have put The Cowboys in the NFC Championship game.
January 9th, 2010 Dallas, No Monkey On Their Backs…
After leading his team to a 24-0 victory in the previous week for the division title against the rival Eagles, Romo delivers on a 13 year playoff drought. Tony Romo throws 23-35 for 2TD, 0INT, as the Dallas Cowboys beat the Eagles for the 3rd time in one season.
January 17th 2010 Minnesota, Sack Lunch On A Field Trip…
Tony Romo goes 22-35, 0TD, 1INT, 198 yards; Brett Favre gets his 1st post-season win against the Cowboys in 4 attempts. Jared Allen helps bring on a sack fest as Romo is taken down 6 times in a complete rout. After Flozell Adams left the game, so did the rest of the offensive line’s effort.
Now to the Jaws ranking and what he had to say about his reasoning:
“I have always liked Romo, but his play in the final regular season game of the 2012 season with the NFC East title on the line still bothers me. You just can’t make mistakes, regardless of whose fault it is. It was the fourth quarter interception with three-and-one-half minutes remaining and the Cowboys trailing by three. That I just can’t forget. You can’t make a throw with no definition in that particular situation, regardless of the pressure.
“Then I look at Romo one week earlier. Two big-time drives in the final five minutes against the Saints, tying the game with 21 seconds remaining. Back-to-back weeks, two different Romos. Those kinds of peaks and valleys is why Romo is No. 15 on my board. I love his talent, and there’s no doubt perception has overtaken reality in the negative world view of Romo, but I would like to see more overall consistency in his play. He’s capable of it.”
Honestly I agree with Jaworski’s comments, I just don’t agree with his placement. He is right Romo does have games where he is lights-out, and then he will have a game where he throws a few too many ducks. I’ve said all along that Tony Romo is capable of winning games on his own, making wide receivers look all-world, and making critical plays under so much pressure he has to write David Bowie royalty checks; and I stand by these statements. The problem is that these things happen too often and at times he is forced into thinking it’s his obligation to carry the team; it’s not.
Balance is what every NFL team would like to have but doesn’t always find. One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever lace a pair of cleats in John Elway could tell you a lot of the importance of a good supporting cast. Yet, Romo isn’t held under the same light. Has anyone ever put this much pressure on an undrafted free agent quarterback from a small school? Better yet here is an even better question; do you know who was the 1st Quarterback taken in 2003? That would be Carson Palmer, want to argue that he’s better than the undrafted Romo; I didn’t think so.
If you would ask where the proper placement of Tony Romo should be on the list of active quarterbacks; I’d say in the 7-10 range. He most certainly is better than fifteenth, but again that is just one man’s opinion. The truth is for most people even including me at times, winning in the postseason and most importantly Superbowls weigh in pretty heavy on the mind. Is anyone ready to say that Joe Flacco is better than Dan Marino because of that one little ring? Not a chance. Here is how I see the list of active Quarterbacks:
- Tom Brady (3 Superbowls, 8 Pro-Bowls, 17-7 in Postseason, 2 MVP awards)
- Peyton Manning (1 Superbowl, 12 Pro-Bowls, 9-12 in Postseason, 4 MVP awards)
- Aaron Rodgers (1 Superbowl, 3 Pro-Bowls, 6-3 in Postseason, 1 MVP award, 1st in Passer Rating)
- Drew Brees (1 Superbowl, 7 Pro-Bowls, 5-4 in Postseason, Record Yardage in Season)
- Ben Roethlisberger (2 Superbowls, 2 Pro-Bowls, 10-4 in Postseason, Youngest QB to win SB)
- Eli Manning (2 Superbowls, 3 Pro-Bowls, 8-3 in Postseason, 2 SB MVP awards)
- Tony Romo (3 Pro-Bowls, 1-3 in Postseason, 5th All Time Passer Rating)
- Joe Flacco (1 Superbowl, 9-4 in Postseason, 1 SB MVP)
- Philip Rivers (4 Pro-Bowls, 4-5 in Postseason)
- Matt Ryan (2 Pro-Bowls, 1-4 in Postseason)
- Andrew Luck (1 Pro-Bowl, 0-1 in Postseason)
- Robert Griffin III (1 Pro-Bowl, 0-1 in Postseason)
- Cam Newton ( 1 Pro-Bowl, AP Player of The Year)
- Matthew Stafford (0-1 in Postseason, 4th QB All-Time to pass 5,000 yards in Season)
- Colin Kaepernick (2-1 in Postseason, 1 SB appearance)
- Jay Cutler (1 Pro-Bowl, 1-1 in Postseason, 11th selection in 2006 Draft )
- Russell Wilson (1-1 in Postseason, 1 Pro-Bowl, Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year)
- Matt Schaub (2 Pro-Bowls, 1-1 in Postseason, 2009 NFL Passing Leader)
- Andy Dalton (1 Pro-Bowl, 0-2 in Postseason)
- Alex Smith (1st Overall in 2005 Draft, 1-1 in Postseason)
- Sam Bradford (AP NFL Rookie of the Year 2010)
- Josh Freeman (1 Pro-Bowl)
- Michael Vick (4 Pro-Bowls, 1st Overall in 2001 Draft, 2-4 in Postseason)
- Carson Palmer (2 Pro-Bowls, 1st Overall in 2003 Draft, 0-2 in Postseason)
- Ryan Tannehill (Most Passing Yards/Attempts for a Rookie)
- Christian Ponder (0-1 in Postseason, 12th Overall in 2011 Draft)
- Jake Locker (8th Overall in 2011 Draft)
- Mark Sanchez (5th Overall in 2009 Draft, 4-2 in Postseason)
- Brandon Weeden (22nd Overall in 2012 Draft)
- Blaine Gabbert (10th Overall in 2011 Draft)
- Matt Flynn (Most Passing Yards in a Single Game-480)
- EJ Manuel (16th Overall in 2013 Draft, 1st QB taken in 2013 Draft)
Now of course there are those that will disagree with my assessment of these Quarterbacks’ rightful place on this list but I believe it is fair and the criteria used weren’t based on just one element or variable. Obviously Manuel ranks 32nd because of his lack of exposure thus far as he was just drafted almost three months ago. I also gave Mark Sanchez a little more credit than most; after all he did take the Jets to two AFC Championship appearances. Now, I will accept any argument in the Top 10 because as I said I believe that Tony Romo belongs somewhere in the 7-10 range, but seventh seems about accurate in my opinion.
Tony Romo is indeed a polarizing figure that garners almost too much attention at times because of the franchise he plays for. However, if Romo were to have not signed that $108 million extension and tested Free Agency; trust me when I say he would have had people coming out of the wood work to sign this man. Romo is capable of winning a championship, he just like Aikman and Staubach before him needs a little help. I’m sure if The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn’t rank below-average the past two seasons, things may have been different. How about if DeMarco Murray was able to rush for 1,000 yards or not miss a single game? They are 8-0 when he is a heavy dose of the game-plan. What could have been if Patrick Crayton caught that pass, or the offensive line held up in Minnesota, or if the fumbled snap never happened? The truth is simple, nobody would care so much to criticize a pretty damn good Quarterback. It’s just too Low Jaws, way too low.