Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo simply can’t seem to shake his reputation as a guy who comes up small when the stage is big.
With the calendar turning to December, get ready to hear more and more about how Romo plays his worst in the final month of the season. But just don’t necessarily believe it.
Like almost every other criticism of Romo, the numbers don’t seem to back up the narrative.
Since 2009 (excluding, obviously, the 2010 season in which Romo missed all of December with injury), the much-maligned Cowboys quarterback has tossed 31 touchdown passes against only 7 interceptions in regular season games played on December 1 or after.
However, not including a Week 16 game in 2011 in which Romo exited early with an injury and attempted only two passes, the Cowboys only have a .500 record in those games. Perfectly mediocre.
Regardless, Romo has played some of his best football in those December losses.
In the five December losses stretching between 2009 and 2011, Romo averaged over 300 yards per game, completing 70 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns against just a single interception.
In 2012, Romo kept pace with Drew Brees in a Week 16 showdown, tossing 4 touchdowns (including the game-tying score with 15 seconds left in regulation, which is shocking, because the guy “always chokes”) with no interceptions, racking up over 400 yards. The Cowboys lost in overtime.
That’s six Cowboys losses, in which Romo collectively completed just under 69 percent of his passes for 1,966 yards, 16 touchdowns and a lone interception. And his team lost every single game.
Kind of kills the whole “Romo doesn’t play well in December” narrative, doesn’t it?
The truth of the matter is, it’s becoming apparent that Cowboys fans need to develop a thick skin about their quarterback. The criticism comes at him hard and fast, and seemingly nothing short of winning a Super Bowl will ever change that.
Given the current state of the Cowboys, it’s hard to imagine Romo will be lifting the Lombardi trophy in Met Life Stadium this coming February. Then again, who would’ve thought at this time last year that Joe Flacco was on his way to being the Super Bowl MVP?
Regardless, if the Cowboys don’t win it all in 2013, it’s unlikely that Romo is the main culprit. In fact, his recent history suggests that his play is the only thing even keeping the Cowboys competitive.
Now, that absolutely doesn’t excuse some bad games that he HAS had, including the Week 17 clunker against the Redskins last season. He’s not always great. He’s not perfect. But no other quarterback is perfect, either.
Then again, no other quarterback is Tony Romo, and HAS to be perfect, to avoid the criticism.