Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) runs on the field to greet his teammates before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Vikings 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys: Tony Romo Haters Right, And Still Wrong About Everything, Part 1

To all the mouth breathers who snidely assert that the Dallas Cowboys will never win a Superbowl with quarterback Tony Romo at the helm: You’re probably right. All of your reasons are wrong, but you’re probably right.

It’s not because Romo is a “loser.” Right, right – he’s 1-6 in “elimination games.” Very clever. Here’s how weird people are about Tony Romo: They invented a stat – never cited for any other NFL quarterback, past or present – for the sole purpose of embellishing Romo’s losses. For every other signal caller in the history of the game, playoff record has been sufficient to gauge big-game prowess. Not for Romo.

Why? I don’t know. Romo seems so easy to root for. A guy nobody really recruited out of high school. Small college quarterback, totally off the combine map. An undrafted free agent who beat ridiculous odds just to make an NFL roster, and then again to become a Pro Bowler. He doesn’t get arrested or do drugs. He’s not a jerk to his wife. He’s quick with a smile, and seems good-natured. He doesn’t talk down to folks. He doesn’t throw teammates under the bus. He plays hurt. Man, does he ever play hurt. He’ll walk into your house and kick your butt with a busted rib and a punctured lung. In overtime. Tony Romo is tougher than you are. What’s not to like about this guy?

There are a wealth of legitimate stats that make Romo look awesome. Like these here. And here. Want more? Okay. But the Romo haters say those stats don’t matter. Only their invented stat counts. Tony Romo is a “loser” because he’s 1-6 in “elimination games.”

People call Vince Lombardi a “winner” for leading teams that featured 19 first-team All Pros, including 10 future Hall of Famers, to five world championships in the 1960s. That’s great work, and it’s not my intention to detract from it, but perhaps Lombardi’s most impressive accomplishment was in leading the hapless Redskins – who hadn’t had a winning season in 13 years – to a 7-5-2 record in 1969. Lombardi didn’t “win” without his roster of HOFers and All Pros. Winners win because they have great teams. When they don’t have great teams, winners don’t win anything.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is a “winner” because of a nice three-game run back in 2009 that made him a world champion. His playoff record before that run? 1-2. His playoff record after that run? 2-3. It’s never one guy. And it’s never just about being good. It takes a few breaks. Does Brees have his ring without that perfectly executed onsides kick to start the second half of Superbowl XLIV? Maybe. Does he have his ring without cornerback Tracy Porter’s 74-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter? Maybe. Here’s the interesting thing about both those plays: Drew Brees watched them from the sidelines. Football teams win football games.

Think back to those six “elimination game” losses: Were the Cowboys really the better team in any of them? You might argue the 2007 Cowboys were better than the Giants, but that was a different New York team than the one Dallas beat twice during the regular season. They’d gotten healthy along the defensive line and would eventually defeat the 18-0 Patriots in the Superbowl. Romo’s other two playoff defeats were on the road, where Dallas was the lower seed. Maybe they were better than Seattle in 2006. But they weren’t better than Philadelphia in 2008. Or Minnesota in 2009. Or New York in 2011. Or Washington in 2012. The better team won all those games.

The reality is Tony Romo has elevated this team to 8-8 over the past three years. The Cowboys wouldn’t have participated in any “elimination games” during Head Coach Jason Garrett’s tenure without the stellar play of their quarterback. One game away from the playoffs for three straight years, all while executing a comprehensive roster rebuild: That’s some special quarterback play. Tony Romo is a winner the same way Lombardi was a winner in Washington – they didn’t actually win anything, but they made bad teams respectable.

And now Romo is old by NFL standards. Body parts are failing. His defense is rebuilding. And even if all that weren’t true, it’s hard to win a Superbowl. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers – they have a combined 33 seasons as starters in this league, and one ring each. Tom Brady has three rings, but he hasn’t won one in a decade. And he’s been on some pretty damn fine teams over those years. A quarterback without a ring is not a loser. It’s not enough to be good – you gotta get a few breaks. Someone other than the quarterback has to make a play every now and then.

So Dallas probably won’t win a Superbowl with Romo under center. That would make the Romo haters right. But it doesn’t mean they’re not morons.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo

  • BradAustin

    Completely agree with your article and comment about Romo making our bad teams respectable. 2 years ago any stationary QB would’ve added another 10+ sacks allowed to our total. ‘Houdini’ Romo made some unbelievable escapes regularly with his patented spin right while heading to the left pocket. It was beyond me why defensive coaches didn’t teach their guys to aim for his left hip before he moved to prevent him getting away with that move again and again. lol

    However…Tony’s success these last 3 or so years has been directly linked to his o-line. He still has yet to play behind a really solid group since 2009 (missed 10 games in 2010). 2011 and 2012 were nightmares up front. And 2013 still had weak links now and then. 2014 may be the first year in a long while he will operate behind a really solid front 5.

    I’d tell his critics to judge him off this season to get a real lock on what he is capable of. This will be the year the running game really helps mask the constant passing of the recent past. Also his line will give him plenty of time to operate in most games. Let’s see what he can do with that scenario. I predict Tony has a huge year…by that I mean a much more efficient control and distribution of the football to win close games.

  • Earl Robertson

    Great article I just hope he can because him and ones like Witten deserve one but there has been too many ones on this team that doesn’t and like u said that is the problem

    • Russ

      Correct. Funny how the mouth-breathers (accurate depiction of Romo haters) never place any blame on their historically crappy defense. So…football is an individual sport, right? Morons! Go Cowboys, go Romo!

  • playmayker

    I couldn’t agree more with your article. Great job! I get the hate from Dallas haters, but what I don’t understand is the hate coming from our own fans? It speaks more to their intelligence level rather than to the actual facts. Facts which speak the truth about Romo. Facts that support that he is an elite QB not some 3rd rate loser. 1-6 in elimination games…give me a break. He lost all 6 of those games by himself because he was the only one on the playing field. What a bunch of crock.

  • ctcowboy1968

    Right on!

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Fans forget the Patrick Crayton drop of a perfectly thrown pass from Romo that would have resulted in a touchdown and defeat of the Giants in 2007. The Giants went on to win the Superbowl.

    • Johnnydals

      Thats so spot on….and also how TE Fasano i believe, dropped one in end zone!! Didnt the refs keep backing us up on that last drive?? With Romo arguing about the intentional grounding when there was obvious recievers there!!!!

  • brian basile

    I live in Atlanta and listen to a lot of sports talk radio….Funny how every time Romo is brought up he is bashed to no end…Now listen to them talk about Ryan last year and they talk about how no QB could succeed with no running game, no o-line or no defense….

    Welcome to our world…Would take Romo over Ryan every day of week….

    • IBleedBlue

      “Would take Romo over Ryan every day of week….”

      YupYup….and twice on Sundays!

  • Sensi Star

    ***Eli Manning carried the worst running game, worst O-line, and 27th
    ranked defense to a Super Bowl victory in 2011. Same year, Rodgers and
    Brady carried the worst and second-worst passing defenses in league
    history to first-round byes. Same year, Peyton Manning carried a team to
    the playoffs that would go 2-14 the following year without him.

    Go look at his stats in those games. He hasn’t played his best in any of those games.

    Romo is 34 years old. At some point you have to stop making excuses for the guy.

    • John

      The 2011 Giants defense held playoff opponents to a ridiculous 14 ppg… To say Eli “carried” them might be a bit of an overstatement.

      And you reached on the stats for the other qbs as well. In 2011 Rodgers was supported by the league’s 19th-ranked scoring defense. Green Bay was about average defensively, when it came to surrendering points. His top-ranked scoring offense, averaging 35 ppg, managed just 20 pts against Eli’s Giants in the divisional round loss.

      Brady was supported by the 15th-ranked scoring defense that year in New England, and his offense averaged 32.1 ppg. He put up 17 points against Eli’s Giants in losing the Superbowl.

      What do we conclude from this? That Eli “knows how to win?” The point of the post isn’t to make excuses for Tony Romo. The point of the post is simple and targeted: Football teams win football games. The “winner” and “loser” monikers are just more ESPN garbage.

      • IBleedBlue

        ::slow clap::

        Well said, sir.

  • BigMark

    I’m a huge Cowboys fan. I read this article, you so eloquently wrote, carefully and I have determined that Romo is still both a loser and a choker. Good day sir.