Exposing “Expert” Canards: Cowboys Romo Clearly Elite

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Conventional wisdom asserts Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo needs a ring to be considered “elite.” Forget Romo’s career 95.6 passer rating (fifth best in league history); forget his career 7.9 yards per pass attempt (seventh best in league history); forget his career 100.7 quarterback rating in the fourth quarter and overtime (best in the NFL since 2000).

Jul 22, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during drills at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Conventional wisdom says that’s all irrelevant. Romo’s Cowboys have yet to win a Superbowl, so while Romo may have his strong points, he’s no Joe Flacco.

Conventional wisdom is a fluid thing, shaped largely by the “experts” in the national media. Today, the experts tell us that a starting quarterback needs a ring to be considered top tier. They tell us that a quarterback’s job is to win championships. Not long ago, they told us “defense wins championships.” Reconcile those two canards, if you dare.

Conventional wisdom says that the recent wave of NFL rule changes favoring offenses justify judging quarterbacks by simple wins and losses. It doesn’t matter that just two years ago the Giants won the Superbowl on the strength of a defense that held four playoff opponents (including Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady) to an average of 14.0 points per game.

The truth is always more complex than conventional wisdom, but that’s the point: Conventional wisdom is supposed to be simple. It’s a means for expert commentators to make sense of a messy world within the space of a two-minute TV segment. The complexities of nuanced analysis play only a marginal role in the ESPN era of sporting news.

The danger with conventional wisdom has always been that, once accepted, it halts the search for truth. Truth in the NFL, if anyone cares to continue that search, is this: So many things have to go right for a team to win the Superbowl, and so few of them are in the quarterback’s control.

Drew Brees has a ring, and he played well in Superbowl XLIV to get it. But what if the Colts recover that surprise onsides kick to start the third quarter? What if Tracy Porter doesn’t jump that slant for a 74-yard pick-six with just over three minutes to play in the game? Those plays were crucial to the Saints’ Superbowl win; Brees watched them from the sideline. Does he have his ring without them? Maybe…

Eli Manning has two rings, but in Eli’s 11 playoff starts, the Giants have lost every game in which the opponent scored 21 points or more.


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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo

  • Just Thinking…

    Missing one stat: number of critical errors at critical moments. No position has a bigger impact on team success than QB. A game of high QB statistical play can be undone by a single critical error.

    • Artie C

      This I agree with

    • John

      Fair enough, but that stat goes two ways, and there have been a number of critical HUGE PLAYS at critical moments. Check out Scott Kacsmar’s excellent piece at Cold Hard Football Facts for all the data on whether or not Romo is “CLUTCH.”

  • Juanito Juanito

    Dont said that, because the haters cant support that, they are so dumb !!!!!!!!

  • Ronald W. Jones

    FACT – Romo has a 17-21 record over the last 3 seasons.
    FACT – Romo has a 21-22 career record against NFC Eastern Division teams. FACT – Romo has a 14-19 record in the months of December/January

    me·di·o·cre – adjective – of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance : ordinary , so-so

    • Artie C

      Good FACTS, but they look like TEAM statistics to me. Wasn’t one of the points of this article about inaccurately blaming or crediting the QB for things out of his control?

    • John

      Thank you for your feedback, Ronald. You raise some interes… Hey, wait a minute. Is this Ron Jaworski? Why the alias, Ron? Dug your work as QB of the Eagles, seeing as how I despise the Eagles. Thanks for reading, though. :)

  • JoeDaBeast

    Win the big one and critics will be less likely to pull the “choke” card on Tony Romo, even though some will then play the “I bet he can’t do it again” line.

  • Artie C

    Good article. Great points. And using the word ‘canard’

    • John

      I’m a sucker for alliteration, Artie.

  • jj

    This man is right you put brady manning any of the top qbs behind the oline romo has and they wont put the numbers romo has the giants exposed our line in the playofff loss and we have yet to fix it. When was the last time romo had a running game? Romos a top 5 qb

  • Ronald W. Jones

    You people seem to forget that Romo was a member of GOOD Cowboy teams loaded with All-Pro players. Look no farther than 2007 with a 13-3 record…had home field advantage through out the play-offs. BUT…Tony Romo makes the ridiculous decision to run off to Cabo with his little Hollywood girlfriend during the bi-week instead of staying in Dallas and studying game film on possible play-off opponents. So what happens? The NYGiants come to our house and knocked us out of the first round. Unbelieveable! And that IDIOT Wade Phillips supported Romo’s trip….Tom Landry wouldn’t have let his QB go to Cabo during the play offs….I know Jimmy Johnson wouldn’t have…..and certainly Parcells would have blown a gasket…..Then we had a 11-5 record in 2009…that is the year of Romos only play-off win (vs Philly) then the next week we got our teeth kicked in @ Minnesota. So don’t say Romo hasn’t had any talent around him….when he did…he squandered the opportunity.

    You people want stat champion…I want a WORLD CHAMPION

    • John

      The 2007 Cowboys had the 13th ranked defense in the league in points per game. Romo’s only ever had one top-5 defense, that was in 2009, and the ‘Boys won a playoff game. Tom Brady has had NINE top-10 defenses, and FIVE top-5 defenses in his tenure in New England. Big Ben has had SIX top-3 defenses in Pittsburg. Aaron Rogers has one top-5 defense, and the Packers won the Superbowl that year. All I’m saying is it’s a team game, dude. You want a world champion? It takes a team.