I must confess; this was the very first article I wanted to write when I first joined The Landry Hat. However, I decided to wait until I could gather more information as I continued to work on this piece. But the main reason I wanted to write this article is because Dallas Cowboys’ fans have become spoiled. They have forgotten how fortunate we are to have a franchise quarterback and really only a handful of teams in the league can say that.
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I remember all too well what the team was like before Tony Romo joined the Cowboys. I remember how it feels to have no hope going into the season because the team had average talent at best at the quarterback position. This week just confirmed it for me as NFL Network replayed the Hard Knocks episodes from the 2002 season when Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson were competing for the starting job in Dallas. I remember Randall Cunningham, Clint Stoerner, Ryan Leaf, Anthony Wright, Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson and Drew Bledsoe.
So in order to get the Dallas Cowboys fans to realize how great a quarterback Tony Romo really is, I am going to take on every argument against Romo.
I initially wanted to write an article comparing Tony Romo to some of the so-called “elite” quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning while also debunking the theory that Tony Romo isn’t clutch. But every debate I have had with someone concerning Romo vs Ben/Flacco/Eli always seems to resort back to their Super Bowl wins. And I get it. The object in football is to win a Super Bowl. I just don’t believe it is that black and white because football is quite frankly the ultimate team game.
So instead, I decided to compare Tony Romo to the next tier of quarterbacks. I left out young players such as Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson because they have too small a sample size to argue with. Below is the list of players I decided to compare Tony Romo to:
Matt Stafford – 1st overall pick in 2009
Matt Ryan – 3rd overall pick in 2008.
Phillip Rivers – 4th overall pick in 2004.
Jay Cutler – 11th overall pick in 2006.
Sam Bradford – 1st overall pick in 2010.
All of these quarterbacks are considered franchise quarterbacks and yet their perceived expectations are all lower than the undrafted Tony Romo.
#1. Tony Romo isn’t clutch in the fourth quarter.
I was tempted to just show the fourth quarter quarterback rating from 2004-2012 and leave it at that.
Highest Fourth Quarter QB Rating 2004-2012
1. Tony Romo
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Peyton Manning
4. Tom Brady
6. Drew Brees
15. Eli Manning
Tony Romo is the highest fourth quarter passer since he came into the league. That cannot be argued. Another stat that seems unbelievable is that Tony Romo has more fourth quarter comebacks in his career than Mr. Captain Comeback himself, Roger Staubach himself. Let that sink in for a second. In 90 games, Tony Romo has managed to have 18 fourth quarter come from behind wins and 19 game winning drives.
Only Peyton Manning (38), Tom Brady (26), Eli Manning (24) Ben Roethlisberger (22) and Drew Brees (20) have more fourth quarter comebacks than Tony Romo (18). And yet, all of those quarterbacks have more career starts than Romo.
In 2012 alone, Romo had five fourth quarter comeback wins that all were the result of a game winning drive by Mr. Romo.
#2 – Tony Romo isn’t an Elite Quarterback.
This is such a broad statement because what is an elite NFL quarterback? Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford are considered elite NFL quarterbacks, but why isn’t Tony Romo? Let’s examine the stats. Listed below are the career averages for each player
Statistically, Romo again is one of the most prolific passers out of this bunch. Romo posted the highest completion percentage, QB rating and the second highest touchdown rate of the group. But yet, Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford are annually considered to be elite, while Tony Romo is considered by most to be a middle of the pack quarterback.
#3 – Tony Romo is Turnover prone
One of the biggest reasons why Tony Romo is considered turnover prone is because we see his interceptions and fumbles time and time again on highlights. The media makes it seem like Romo is the most turnover prone quarterback in the league, and a large part of that may be due to the constant comparisons to Brett Favre. But again, let’s use the stats to see how turnover prone Romo actually is. Each players’ career average is listed below.
INTs/ Pass Attempt
Romo averages less than an interception per game, while posting the third best TD/INT ratio of the group. Romo doesn’t turn the ball over at a ridiculous rate, and yet fans are told the same old story over and over again, Tony Romo is a turnover machine.
#4 – Tony Romo is only good in the regular season. He is much worse in the playoffs.
We have already established that Romo is an excellent regular season quarterback, but his biggest detractors will say that he struggles in the playoffs. The fact of the matter is this; most quarterbacks are better in the regular season than in the playoffs. Let’s compare the same quarterbacks again (with a few extras added) and see how their career regular season stats per game compare to their playoff stats per game.
Regular Season Stats/Game
Do Tony Romo’s stats decrease in the playoffs? Yes. Do most quarterbacks stats decrease as well? Yes (Except for Matt Stafford and his small sample size.)
What Romo has been able to do in the playoffs is keep his turnovers down.
Before anyone dismisses Tony Romo because he hasn’t yet won a Superbowl or that he “only puts up good stats in the regular season” they need to be reminded that there are multiple Hall of Fame quarterbacks who would also fit into the same category. Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, and Warren Moon all failed to win a Super Bowl. Romo is an elite quarterback in the NFL today. The stats back it up and next week I will demonstrate to you why the film does as well. With Tony Romo at the helm for the Dallas Cowboys, the team always has at least a puncher’s chance to advance deep in the playoffs.