It was supposed to be another Sunday where the cloud of MVP chat and cheer surrounded Murray.
Whoops. Make some room, Murray.
When it mattered most, Romo put his back into it and knocked down the door of mediocrity. His performance this December has recycled over and over an old narrative that he is the prescription Dallas requires.
Without Romo, it’s over. No resurgence. No charge. No fight.
With Romo, mediocrity is on life support with possible contract extensions.
The 34-year-old propelled himself into playoff conversation, shooting down doubters moment after moment. 23 days ago, the talk about the calendar change to December meant bad fortune for the Cowboys.
Romo was going to show up to the big stage with hiccups, shooting himself in the foot and consequently, drive his team to ground.
The stage was even set up: Dallas had just lost a Thanksgiving game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The debacle performance came right after an emotional win against the New York Giants, but Romo surrendered to the Eagles going for 18 of 29, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
The magical fairy tale of Romo silencing critics was an unwritten, make-believe Hollywood script — Disney moments don’t happen, just ridicule and laughter.
But then December 2014 happened.
Play after play, touchdown pass after touchdown pass, and three straight December victories later, it happened for Dallas. The quarterback went ballistic; he fired on all cylinders as if a cure for mediocrity (and his back) was discovered over night.
Romo wasn’t ordinary — he was cloaked with MVP light.
Tony Romo in December 2014:
12/04 | 80.8 PCT | 3 TDS | 0 INT | 138.0 QB Rating
12/14 | 71.0 PCT | 3 TDS | 0 INT | 129.1 QB Rating
12/21 | 90.0 PCT | 4 TDS | 0 INT | 151.7 QB Rating
His consistency in 2014 has earned him a 11-3 record as a starter, a division title, at least one playoff home game, and maybe more. For the year, Romo has 32 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 3,406 passing yards, and a quarterback rating of 114.4.
When you put those numbers into focus, it doesn’t scream MVP. But wait.
Tony Romo, the “choker,” who coughs up the ball in meaningful moments, particularly in December, is a standard pedestrian of a football player who lets his team and himself down, right?
Consider Romo’s fourth quarter recipe to the MVP conversation. The quarterback must have drunk gallons of Gatorade to prevent hiccups because he was simply put: Mr. Exceptional during the fourth quarter.
According to NFL.com, in the fourth quarter alone, Romo tossed six touchdowns to only two interceptions, completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, and earned a 105.6 quarterback rating.
How about in the fourth quarter when Dallas was within seven points, where Romo “chokes” and loses close games? Try this: 30 for 39, a 76.9 completion percentage, four touchdowns to one interception, and a quarterback rating of 123.6.
Romo’s legs must be tired from kicking down all these doors. First the mediocrity disease, then the choker label, and now the December narrative. He deserves this. He deserves recognition, spotlight, and media attention. And he certainly deserves to be on the MVP ballot.
When coaches are getting dunked in blue or orange or red Gatorade, one can assume good things are happening. Watching Romo dunk his head coach in ice blue liquid had to be special for the 12-year pro.
It was as if the quarterback dug his blistered feet in shallow water, closer to land, after years of swimming alone in deep dark oceans. The weight was lifted, and released.
It wouldn’t hurt if a little bit of the blue Gatorade landed on his white jersey. Romo, above all, deserves to shower in celebration after all this MVP talk.
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