The last few weeks we have heard the term ‘The Triplets’ being thrown around when talking about Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo, running back DeMarco Murray, and wide receiver Dez Bryant. They are supposedly reprising the roles once held by Cowboys’ legends Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin back in the 90s. It is a natural reaction to start the comparisons based on the way the current players are performing this year.
Owner Jerry Jones could not be more ecstatic over the comparison. Aikman, Smith, and Irvin are all-time greats in the history of the league. For Romo, Murray, and Bryant to be playing well enough to be compared to them is exciting for the franchise. But now I am starting to hear the absurd that the current day threesome may be even better.
If you are old enough to appreciate what the original Triplets accomplished in the 90s, then you are probably like me and your head nearly explodes when you hear that sentiment. This past week Roy White of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth wrote a blog making the argument that all three current players are better than their predecessors. This was followed by a slew of callers to the radio station agreeing with the blog.
Slow your roll people! I agree these guys are playing at a level deserving of comparisons. But it’s premature to proclaim any three of them are better than the originals. Maybe when all is said and done the argument could be made. For now, though, it is ludicrous to even think that.
White made his argument based solely on stats. To compare Dez with the Playmaker based on numbers alone is nonsensical considering how much the passing game has evolved. So let’s throw that argument out the window. Until Dez is the heart and soul of a Super Bowl team, let alone three, then it is hard to convince me he is hands down better than Irvin when he retired with the numbers he did.
The same can be said when comparing the quarterbacks. The passing game is so much more conducive to putting up lofty numbers. So to compare Aikman and Romo on statistics alone is foolish. But if you want to make an argument using stats, then to not include postseason numbers for quarterbacks is absurd.
Aikman has the 11th all-time best passer rating in postseason history and the 4th best in Super Bowl history. He also owns the record for highest completion percentage in Super Bowl history.
We all know what Romo has done in big spots throughout his career. And we also know his postseason history as well. Without a doubt he is a more dazzling player than Aikman was, but to think he is a superior player when quarterbacks are historically judged on winning is preposterous.
Finally, the comparison between Smith and Murray may be the most upsetting to me. Murray is on a record setting pace. Along with the offensive line, he is the reason for the Cowboys hot start. Right now there is not a better running back in the NFL. But make no mistake he is no Emmitt Smith.
First off, the stats White uses in his blog are a bit skewed. He compiles stats through the first seven weeks of Emmitt’s fourth season to compare to Murray. If you recall, Smith did not play the first two games of his 4th season while holding out for a new contract.
So if you use the first seven games he played in that season, his stats come out to 1,123 carries for 4,915 yards (4.4 avg) and 48 touchdowns. And that includes a game where he had one carry for one yard because he left early with an injury.
That is compared to 729 carries for 3,594 yards (4.9 avg) and 22 touchdowns through Murray’s seventh game of his fourth season. That is almost 400 less carries than Emmitt through the same point in their careers. And that is what made Smith so special is his durability. If Murray continues to play at this level for several more years then come talk to me about comparing the two.
Of the three, I believe Dez has the brightest future to surpass his counterpart in the argument. Bryant has the ability to be an all-time great. But again, that is being said with a whole lot of years still in front of him to prove that prediction. To consider these three in the same class as the original threesome right now is unwarranted in my opinion.
How about win some Super Bowls, or better yet win some playoff games, before beginning that discussion.