Cowboys Romo vs. ESPN: Kipling Saw This Coming

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Will Tony Romo have to be literally perfect, and not just near-perfect, for the Cowboys to win this Sunday against the defending division champion Redskins? His record-setting performance against the consensus best team in football wasn’t enough to eke out a win last week, and Romo was flayed alive for it by many in the TV genius class.

Oct 6, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) is sacked in the fourth quarter by Denver Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips (90) at AT

What’s an NFL quarterback got to do to get some respect from the folks in the press? The answer’s obvious: Win.

Or maybe it’s not so obvious.

Consider the case of another NFL quarterback who took over a 1-4 team in 2011. They weren’t just bad that year; they were 7-24 in their previous 31 games – they were long-established league door mats. But this quarterback took over in Week 7 and led the worst team in football to a 7-4 mark and a division title.

Then in the postseason, when winning is everything, he beat the odds-makers and the Pittsburg Steelers, putting up 29 points and becoming the first NFL quarterback ever to throw three touchdown passes of 50 yards or more in a single playoff game.

And yet the same experts who tell us Romo’s stats don’t matter because he needs more wins, scream that Tim Tebow’s wins don’t matter because he needs better stats.

Anyone else get the feeling it doesn’t matter what Romo does – the ESPNers are gonna pile on regardless?

One is reminded of Kipling’s Bandar Log – the troupe of boastful, ignorant monkeys, despised by all the other animals in The Jungle Book.

Their slogan: “We all say so, and so it must be true!”

The only way to deal with the Bandar Log was to ignore them. But the Bandar Log believed they were the most important creatures in all the jungle, so when they sensed they were being ignored, their inane chatter grew louder. Eventually, though, if they were ignored long enough, they’d get distracted and move as if nothing happened. 

Kipling wrote The Jungle Book in the 1890s, and the stories have long been interpreted as allegories of the popular culture at the time. Who knew ESPN has been around that long?

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