Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

QUICK OUT: Romo Prepared To Leave Danny White Comparisons Behind

Today’s average Cowboy fan probably never saw Danny White play.  For those fans, he was the QB who became the starter when Roger Staubach retired after the 1979 season.  Roger was a tough act to follow.  Staubach played in 4 Super Bowls (VI, X, XII, XIII) winning 2 of them and was named the MVP of the Cowboys first Super Bowl.

The reason White is even relevant is that our own Tony Romo is most often compared to Danny White (even I have made that comparison in the past).  Why?

Because Danny was at the helm of some really talented Cowboys teams, but he could never win the big game.  Sound familiar?

White led the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship games and lost all 3.  In 1980, the Cowboys finished 2nd in the NFC East with a 12-4 record but lost to their division rival Eagles in the NFC Championship game 20-7 (the Eagles went on to lose to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV).  In 1981, the Cowboys won the NFC East with another 12-4 record and returned to the NFC Championship to play the 49ers.  This time Danny and the Cowboys were done in by Dwight Clark and “The Catch” and lost 28-27.  The 49ers went on to beat the Bengals 26-21 in Super Bowl XVI.  The strike shortened 1982 season saw the Cowboys finish with a 6-3 record and a #2 playoff seed out of 8 total playoff teams.  They again made it to the NFC Championship game but lost to the Redskins 31-17 (White was injured late in the 2nd quarter and was replaced by Gary Hogeboom).  Washington went on to beat Miami 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII.

Technically, Danny White could have immortalized himself by getting the Cowboys to 3 straight Super Bowls and potentially could have won at least one or two. Instead, he will always be remembered as a really talented QB who just couldn’t get the job done.  But, is the Romo comparison with White fair?  Let’s review their stats.

Danny White Tony Romo
College Arizona State Eastern Illinois
(Div I) (Div-IAA)
Drafted Dallas Cowboys UFA 2003
3rd Rnd, 1974
NFL Career ’76 – ’88 ’03 – ’12
12 Years 9 Years (To Date)
*White signed with the Memphis Southmen out of college and played 2 years in the now defunct WFL Romo’s 1st season as a starter was in 2006
Retired Age 37 N/A (Age 33 Today)
Won/Loss Record 78-58 (.574) 64-48 (.571)
Career Passing Yds 21,259 25,737
Best Season 3,980 4,903
1983 2012
Career TDs 155 177
Best Season 29 36
1983 2007
Playoff Record 5-5 1-3


Reviewing these facts and figures, I’m not sure the comparison is fair to either one of them.  Statistically, Romo has already eclipsed Danny White’s numbers and his career isn’t done.  Granted it is a different, much more passing focused league today than it was in the “run to set up the pass” era White played in.  The one statistic where White clearly exceeds Romo is playoff games and wins.  Danny White may have lost 3 straight NFC Championship games but he at least got them into those games with playoff victories.  Romo has one playoff win – and that was in the wild card round.  He and his Cowboy teams haven’t even sniffed a Super Bowl (yet).

The simple truth is that this comparison will persist as long as Romo continues to implode in the glare of big games.  Until he can remove the “can’t win the big one” monkey off his back like he did the cyst this off season, he will be forever linked to Danny White.  Danny can’t do anything now about his legacy.  But, Romo still has a chance to make everyone forget the failures.  In my opinion, if he gets a little help from his offensive line and his running game, he can take this team to the promised land.  He has the talent and can overcome the big game failures.  Let’s hope it happens in 2013.  Go Cowboys!

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Danny White Tony Romo

  • Artie C

    The biggest difference to me was that Danny White inherited a very talented, SuperBowl ready team. Tony inherited a questionable team talent wise with a couple standout players.

    • Volusiagirl

      I agree with that! JJ has yet to give Romo what’s needed to bring home the trophy and what really plucks my nerves is Romo, Jason & DeMarcus will probably end their careers without one as Danny did.

  • Volusiagirl

    I agree

  • Ken Menees

    After watching Danny while I had Season tickets in the early to mid 80′s , I Much Prefer Tony over Danny, although I Loved Danny as the Punter that could throw when he had a Chance!

  • Glenn Carano

    I’m not sure a side by side comparison of stats for two guys from totally different eras tells you
    much of anything. Staubach threw for 22,700 yards, and his best year was 3586, which statistically puts him right in the middle of both these guys. Does Roger’s rings make him the better quarterback? If so, then the Romo/White argument is pointless, since neither of them have won a championship.

  • Toby Keith’s Truck

    If Tony would just hand it off to the best RB in cowboy history or throw it to the greatest backup tight end ever, Tony would be compared to Roger Doger and Troy. BOOMER SOONER!!!!

  • Ed in CA

    “Romo Prepared To Leave Danny White Comparisons Behind”
    Yeah, we’re all ready for that…been ready for a long time now. But being ready and actually doing it are different scenarios altogether. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Nick

    Two things to consider – first, the Cowboys were not done in by the 49ers “catch” crap. they were done in when – 15 yards from field goal range – White fumbled the ball. who do you blame there, White or the lineman that allowed the sake before White could even back up in the pocket? I’m going with the lineman. second, White did inherit some talented teams but in at least 2 out of the 3 Championships (49ers, Washington) it was the defense that lost the game, not the offense.