Nov 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws as he is grabbed by Oakland Raiders nose tackle Stacy McGee (92) during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium.The Cowboys beat the Raiders 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo: Latest Statistical Analysis Won't Change Minds

So Pro Football Reference recently accumulated and published fourth quarter passing data for all NFL quarterbacks since 2007, and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo statistically sparkles in crunch time when compared to his peers. The data is telling, but won’t move anyone – Romo “haters” still think he’s a choker who looks good on paper; Romo “apologists” still shake their heads and wonder how a quarterback this good got such a bad rap.

The “Romo Is Actually Pretty Clutch When It Counts” story line, complete with statistical support, has been done before. ESPN did a pretty good one back in 2012 here. USA Today took the baton in 2013 here. This most recent entreaty is part of what has become an annual tradition among less reactionary NFL observers: Trying to convince the simian-browed Romo haters that the Cowboys have an excellent quarterback.

This newest statistical breakdown can be viewed in its entirety here, and it’s well worth it if you’re a Romo supporter. I have busted out some of the data below for selective comparisons. We’ll start with the Top 5 fourth quarter performers over the past seven seasons, as measured by quarterback rating:

Aaron Rodgers87418663532046168.0101.16
Tony Romo98596943761862238.1100.218
Tom Brady97531870638551197.394.015
Peyton Manning96507803599751167.598.717
Drew Brees1117131145825457347.288.217

Interesting that this list includes the four quarterbacks generally considered to be the best in the game – New England’s Tom Brady, Denver’s Peyton Manning, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. Romo is in good company here. Anyone who actually watches Cowboys games (and not just Cowboys highlights) isn’t surprised that he rounds out the Top 5.

But Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings in Pittsburg. Yeah, and both times he had a Top 3 scoring defense supporting him. What’s more interesting about Big Ben, is that he’s played with three other No. 1 scoring defenses and didn’t win a Super Bowl with any of them. What a waste. Romo’s never had that kind of support.

But Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings for the New York Giants. Yeah, and he didn’t have to score more than 18 points to win either of them. In 2007, when Eli’s Giants beat the undefeated Patriots by a field goal, New York held the most prolific offense in the history of the league to just 14 points. That Eli sure knows how to win, huh?

But what about Russell Wilson, and his reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks? A fine quarterback. He has two years as a starter in the league, and both years he played with the top-ranked scoring defense in the league. We’ve seen how Romo stacks up against his veteran peers, now let’s look at how he stacks up against some of the league’s young guns.

I broke the data down further to look at “per game” statistics based on how many starts these quarterbacks have had over the course of their young careers.

Tony Romo986.089.6277.738.10.630.23100.2
Russell Wilson323.536.0347.507.90.440.2292.8
Robert Griffin286.0410.0769.256.90.390.2184.8
Cam Newton484.798.2764.157.80.330.2384.6
Andy Dalton484.678.2158.157.10.400.3179.2
Andrew Luck324.948.9461.506.90.380.2877.7
Colin Kaepernick233.486.1343.967.20.170.2273.9
Sam Bradford496.3111.1464.415.80.390.3173.5
Ryan Tannehill325.169.7859.1060.340.3468.2

Interesting how little is asked of guys like Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter. Each is averaging only about six fourth quarter passing attempts per start. Of course, both teams feature a dominant running game and are led by a Top 3 scoring defense. The Cowboys haven’t had any of that. When they’ve won in the fourth quarter, it’s been on the arm of Tony Romo. They’ve needed him to make plays.

Again, the stats show Romo makes more plays when it counts than most NFL quarterbacks. Old news. And if the haters didn’t get it in 2012 and 2013, they’re not going to get it now.

Next Cowboys Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep3:25San Francisco 49ersBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo

  • truthbetold

    Of course it isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Romo can be clutch. But he’s made enough mistakes where a lot of people cringe when the ball is in his hands late game. Since 2011, this guy has thrown EIGHT interceptions in the last 4 minutes of 1 possession games. That’s a problem. and apparently he isn’t clutch when it counts. He’s 1-6 lifetime in elimination games.

    • Jay

      That 1-6 in elimination stat means nothing. it was made up specifically for Romo. Eli Manning started 0-4 in playoff games before he went on his run. Can everyone please appreciate the hard working undrafted free agent out of Eastern Ill? Opinions won’t change unless he wins a Superbowl or until we go back to the revolving door at quarterback years. Also you do realize that’s 8 interceptions that 1. have not all resulted in losses and 2. came over the span of 48 games? and 3. He has over 10 that’s right 10 game winning/fourth quarter comebacks over that same span. You can’t disregard the total picture. I challenge you to go look up Eli, Big Ben, Brady, Rivers Rodgers or any other quarterback for that matter and see how many back breaking turnovers they’ve had throughout a game. O but I forgot, if your turnovers cause you to get blown out it’s not a big deal. but because Romo constantly keeps the boys in the game despite their flaws he’s a choke artist…

      • truthbetold

        That 1-6 stats means nothing? That represents times he’s failed to make the playoffs. so if you think that means nothing, that is very odd, but sure. I am taking in the whole picture. this guy has missed the playoffs for FOUR ENTIRE YEARS. stop making excuses. Eli starting 0-4 is irrelevant. Because fast forward to today and what is he? A guy with 2 superbowl rings and 2 superbowl MVPs. You’re throwing out rogers, rothliesberger, and Brady. all those guys are something that Romo is not and will likely never be. winners.

        • Jay

          Well you can never say never because you just fast forwarded and used an example that explains what I am talking about. hindsight is always 20/20 and Romo is not done yet. Also name another quarterback that you’ve seen a win or go home stat? BTW 3 of those were playoff losses. Lastly football is the ULTIMATE TEAM SPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So while you’re drinking the blame Romo Kool-Aid, the cowboys front office is very secure with #9 under center. As would about 20 other teams in the league. I don’t care what anyone say’s Mr. Romo is judged just a bit too harshly because he wears the star but he bares his cross with class. that’s all while being an absolutely fantastic quarterback. Regardless of how delusional you are you must recognize that there are not too many as good as him in the league. We all know what the Ultimate goal is and his story is not finished being written yet

          • truthbetold

            Sure man, sure. The difference is that Eli accomplished that already. Romo is 34 years old coming off back surgery. he has 1 playoff victory in 8 entire years as starter. he has missed the playoffs for 4 straight years. If he misses again this season, that will make an entire half decade since he’s been to the playoffs. If you want to call that secure, be my guest. It’s also called mediocrity. if you find mediocrity secure, then ok. second, he is very good statistically. It’s just that those stats hasn’t amounted to a damn thing, so who cares? Third, yes it’s a team sport. But every team has a leader, and that’s supposed to be the quarterback. Some teams have quarterbacks who can elevate their team to a different level and win. And some teams are stuck with quarterbacks like Tony Romo, who can’t do that. Before you rush to blame the defense, let me say that they absolutely play a part. But Tom Brady carried a garbage defense to the superbowl to face Eli, Peyton manning won the superbowl with the 21st ranked defense, and you know what? Forget about the elite quarterbacks. forget about the superbowl. NICK FOLES won 10 games and a division title with the leagues 29th ranked defense last season. 29th. So I’m not the one in this discussion who is delusional as you say lol.

          • Jay

            I love the enthusiasm and you are correct Romo had a back surgery can’t argue there. The cowboys have no choice but to feel secure. Yes I understand what Eli has accomplished but if your using that then you have to recognize that Romo’s career is not done yet. He’s not just good statistically he’s great…but I guess that’s the same thing as mediocre. also there are way’s to design an offense to cover up deficiencies. Leadership is not a question at all with Romo it’s only a question amongst casual fans. Tom brady had the 21st ranked defense but he also might be the best to ever play his position…I never said Romo was Brady that’d be absurd. Same thing with Peyton. nick foles does not warrant a response sorry….I will not use the defense as a crutch but there is/was a depth deficiency with the Cowboys the last few years and that’s being very kind. If your opinion is that the quarterback is the sole reason for wins losses playoff success and failure you must have not watched the Seahawks win the Superbowl last year. This is what happens when people decide that the media is the best source of football knowledge

          • truthbetold

            The entire point is in what you just said. “He’s not just good STATISTICALLY, he’s great”. The fact that you have to emphasize “statistically” tells the whole story. He hasn’t won anything significant, and for the last 4 seasons, he hasn’t even won in the regular season either. 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 8-8. That’s what this so called “great” quarterback has led his team to. He’s just a guy who puts up nice stats but can’t win anything significant. If you think that makes him great, ok. You’re entitled to your opinion, just like I’m entitled to finding that opinion laughable. And no, I don’t think a quarterback is the only factor to success. I agree with you that it’s a team game. What I also acknowledge is that the quarterback position is the most important on the field. The single most important. Some quarterbacks can drive a decent team into the ground (Matt schaub). Some can elevate a team to a level they wouldn’t see without them (Tom Brady). And some have quarterbacks like Romo and Rivers who will put up nice numbers but fail to lead the team anywhere significant.

          • Jay

            So I guess the article hit it right on the head…..Opinions won’t change….Go Cowboys!!!!!!!

          • David

            Eli is Trent Dilfer times two. He was lucky enough to be on two great teams..If he didnt have two rings and a last name of Manning people would say he is a joke based on his stats. Which by the way would be true..

          • truthbetold

            Two great teams? Lol they were only 9-7 on one of thier championship runs. Look it up. Eli and the team got hot and stormed through the postseason once they got there. It was a team effort. The defense locked down, and Eli was pure money in the clutch. He didn’t have to put up brees numbers, but he absolutely wasn’t carried anywhere. He’s a champion.

          • David

            I dont need to look it up but apparently you do if you are only going by their records. The last year they won they had huge injuries on the D-line until about week 13. From then on they allowed about 15 points a game on average. So please dont come at me with ignorance…If Eli was near as good as Romo he would have had his team a lot better last year.The Gmen were 8th in the league in defense. Romo would have killed for his defense to be half that good.

          • truthbetold

            This is what I always notice about you guys. “If Romo had this, if Romo had that”. Romo has what he has, and where has he led them? Nowhere. The second thing you guys like to do is point to the fact that some champions don’t have better numbers than Romo. Lol numbers. Tell me, where has those numbers gotten him? Nowhere but constant failure because he can’t lead this team to anything significant. You guys harp on numbers because what else has he accomplished? Not a damn thing, that’s what. Eli isn’t my favorite. He has his issues as well. But he is something that Romo isn’t, and will likely never be. A winner. Tony Romo is just a talented loser. That’s it. That’s reality. So I am not the one in this discussion who’s ignorant.

          • David

            And this is what I notice about you, total football ignorance. Apparently because Romo has no ring he is not as good as Eli. So I guess Eli is better than Marino and his brother because Payton only has one ring. And if your definition of winner is only a SB then yes Romo may never fit your genius definition. No you are the only one thats ignorant. You’re posts prove that. I like how you were totally clueless about the Gmen defense getting healthy and allowing around 15 points a game for the last three weeks and the playoffs..Yeah you are a smart one.

          • truthbetold

            Lol and I like how you’re completely delusional about the loser you have at quarterback. Really, it’s funny. What is the purpose of the game? To win a title. You just literally said I’m wrong because my definition of a winner is someone who wins. Hahahahaha. Only Romo fans. And lets say that I was willing to go by your idiotic logic that people who lose are still winners. You still lose the argument because Romo doesn’t even win in the regular season anymore lol! The last 4 years of this “great” QB career, he has led his team to 6-10, 8-8, 8-8, 8-8. So not only has he failed to actually win a title in almost a decade starting despite the nice stats, he’s even losing in the regular season. Because he is what I said he is. A talented loser. Nice try though.

  • eljara

    great analysis… but as you said on your closing… “if the haters didn’t get it in 2012 and 2013, they’re not going to get it now.”

  • Mike

    I’m glad to finally hear someone talk not only facts but put it down on paper “Barney style” if u will for all Romo haters out there that Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in this league. And when he gets a super bowl ring for us there will still be haters out there to find another excuse to hate on our QB…. but the truth hurts and it always will…..

  • David Jordan

    Tony Romo is 1-6 in elimination games.

    Tony must have given up 44 points when the Cowboys lost to the Eagles in 2008. Philadelphia 44 Dallas 6.

    I guess Tony gave up those 34 points versus the Vikings back in 2009. Vikings 34 Dallas 3.

    I guess Romo gave up those 31 points versus the Giants in the last game of the 2011 season. Giants 31 Dallas 14.

    Romo gave up all 28 points when the Cowboys lost to the Redskins in the last game of the 2012 season.
    Washington 28 Dallas 18.

    Seems to me the Cowboys were never in any of these games and look how many points the quarterback gave up. Man, he can’t play defense worth a flip.