OK now. I wrote about this last week in my ‘T’was The Month Before..’ article. What is up with people that can’t let Tony Romo get a compliment? New example this week, former New York Giant, Amani Toomer said that ‘statistically’ (here I am qualifying too) you’d probably have to go with Dallas Cowboy’s Tony Romo over his former teammate, Eli Manning, in the NFC East. The statement was harmless enough, not knocking Manning at all and just based on statistics… Then that Graziano guy from ESPN just had to point out in a different article that Amani Toomer only ‘kinda’ picked Romo over Eli Manning and only on a very specific point, trying to suggest no one in their right mind would really choose Tony Romo over Eli Manning as the best QB in the NFC East. Former New York Giant and also Eli Manning teammate, Michael Strahan couldn’t leave Amani Toomer’s comments alone either, claiming Toomer’s decision making had to be influenced by ‘bath salts’. Really?
Good for Toomer that after the firestorm, he stuck to his guns and again said that, even though he was ready to trash Tony Romo, after he studied him and looked at the stats: Better 4th quarter rating than Eli, fewer interceptions, and so on and so on, he changed his mind. So his perception of Romo changed and when he was asked the question, he put his personal loyalty to the New York Giants aside and made a decision based on the facts. He’s getting hammered for it in sports media outlets, and maybe he was just looking to create some controversy. The flack Toomer is getting is really just collateral damage, the real target here is Tony Romo.
I don’t need to go over the statistics, that has been done adnauseum by just about everyone that writes, thinks or cares about this stuff. Look, Tony Romo is a statistically superior quarterback than all but a handful of QBs in the NFL, let alone Eli Manning. That clearly is not the point, though. The point is Eli Manning has 2 Superbowl rings and, well, there you go.
(For an indepth view, Greg Cosell of NFL Films has a couple great articles evaluating Tony Romo and, separately, Eli Manning – as well as most of the other NFL QBs. They are fair and thorough analyses pointing out the good and the bad of both QBs)
They are both in the top 10 NFL QBs in most peoples minds. There is one big difference, however, between New York Giant’s QB, Eli Manning and Dallas Cowboy’s QB, Tony Romo. One of these guys was the #1 over all NFL draft pick in 2004 from a 1A university, and the other was an undrafted free agent in 2003 from a AA College. You see, in my mind anyway, to whom much is given, much is expected. So we should expect Eli Manning to achieve at a high level considering his pedigree and draft status and that he started at the top. What’s impressive is that Tony Romo came from the bottom, literally, and performed his way into the discussion, being compared to these other QBs that should already be good enough.
On a side note, Eli Manning has now come into his own and become elite – it only took him 8 full seasons, where as Tony Romo has really only played 4 full seasons and is coming into his own as well, without the pedigree or seasoning.
The common opinion among sports media, fans and even many players, is that Tony Romo has to prove himself by taking the Dallas Cowboys to a Superbowl or at least deep into the playoffs. Until then, he really doesn’t belong in the discussion of top 10’s or ‘elite QB’ status. For me, with where Romo started compared to where the likes of Eli Manning or even Philip Rivers, for example, started, he has already achieved more with less. Seems to me that 1st round NFL draft picks should be expected to get their team to a Superbowl. Undrafted free agents should make the team and contribute. Maybe that’s the issue. Maybe all these haters, like Michael Strahan and others are annoyed at the suggestion that Tony Romo the UFA should be compared to a #1 Drafted QB, Eli Manning. How dare we compare! Maybe it’s about ‘Elitists’ after all and not ‘Elite QBs’.
The real question Michael Strahan, as well as the guys at ESPN and at least 22 NFL GMs, should be asking is: How did this Tony Romo kid slip through our hands? Why didn’t our team recognize what Bill Parcells, Sean Payton and Mike Shanahan (while coach of the Broncos) recognized? Why didn’t a 1A university notice Tony Romo’s raw talent and offer him a scholarship to come play for their team? What else, really, did Tony Romo have to achieve to get noticed?
The point of this article is not who’s a better quarterback, Eli Manning or Tony Romo. I’ll even give the nod to Eli to quell the debate. The point is that Tony Romo is in the discussion and deserves the accolades. The undrafted free agent from AA Eastern Illinois is in the discussion with a #1 over all draft pick named Manning. Tony Romo has already arrived people, and it’s pissing y’all off because he’s better than your 1st rounders (and he plays for America’s Team ta boot!).
Can Tony Romo get to a Superbowl? I’m a huge Dallas Cowboy fan and a Romosapien, so I hope so. He certainly is talented enough to get there. I’ve suggested before and I’ll throw it out there again: If Tony Romo was the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback instead of Alex Smith (another #1 over all pick), he would have already won a Superbowl, IMO.
Regardless if you are willing to agree with that last part, I think it’s at least clear, that Tony Romo has nothing to prove. Romo is a competitor, he’s talented and has at least 3 or 4 more years playing at his top level. Tony Romo wants to win a Superbowl with the Dallas Cowboys because that is his goal, not because he needs the validation of all the talking heads. But because it’s what he has to do, what he works, practices and plays to do. – Artie Cappello