Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo and His Playoff Legacy


Football is the ultimate team sport– 22 starters per team squaring up for battle week after week. However, fairly or unfairly, the spoils of a victory and the blame for a loss typically are awarded to just one of these players– the quarterback. Especially in Dallas, with former legends at the helm of the offense, you are either revered as a stud like Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach or scrutinized as a dud like Chad Hutchinson or Quincy Carter.

Tony Romo, the veteran quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, has received the typical Texas sized treatment. Romo is a household name, has a contract valued at over $100 million, and is married to former Miss Missouri, Candice Romo. The Cowboys quarterback seems to have it all– all except for a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

Now, in a team sport it seems a bit unfair to put the Cowboys struggles over the last two decades squarely on the shoulders of number nine. With Romo’s age and seniority on the team, he just happens to be one of the only players around long enough to receive the blame. As an 11 year veteran on the NFL’s fourth youngest team, beyond stalwart future Hall of Fame tight end, Jason Witten, and owner Jerry Jones, who else can take such blame?

Romo is consistently a force to be reckoned with in the regular season. In fact, he just became the franchise’s passing leader, breaking Troy Aikman’s former record of 32,942 career yards December 21st against the Indianapolis Colts. Where Romo has failed to produce is in big games, specifically in the playoffs.

In his career, the Cowboys quarterback has made the playoffs in three different seasons, holding just a 1-3 record in postseason matches. Although he receives much of the blame for the losses, his numbers may not be stellar, but they sure aren’t ugly.

In his four total appearances, Romo has an average rating of 80.8, four touchdowns, two interceptions, 832 yards, and a 59.3% completion percentage. Obviously, fans should expect a higher completion percentage, but with a 2/1 touchdown to interception ratio and a fair quarterback rating, Romo did not lose the game for his Cowboys. The problem is, he also didn’t win the game for them.

Much like the lion’s share of his career, Dallas’ poster-child has put up another spectacular regular season. In the back end of his career, Romo finds himself a serious MVP candidate. Throughout the 2014 season, he has set career bests for himself completing just under 70% of his passes while throwing touchdowns on 7.8% of his passes. Romo also has set personal marks in quarterback rating (113.2) and QBR (82.75).

It is certainly not a typical season for the oft-discussed quarterback. Beyond his astronomical numbers, Romo has run an offense that doesn’t ask him to bear the whole burden. Along great quarterback play there has been record setting performances by running back DeMarco Murray, an all-pro caliber season by wideout Dez Bryant, and the best offensive line that has played in Dallas since Aikman was at the helm.

Sunday afternoon, Romo has the chance to improve his lackluster playoff numbers against the Detroit Lions. Deserved or not, without a Super Bowl, Romo’s legacy looks to be characterized as the choking quarterback with a playoff monkey on his back. Despite his reputation, there is more on the line than his legacy. Romo says,

"“As players we all want to be playing in that game and holding that trophy at the end of the year, just hoist it up and know that you accomplished your goal that you set out. I know that’s my goal. I mean everything else is just peanuts compared to it.”"

Yes, Tony Romo, the Cowboys sure have accumulated a lot of those “peanuts” over the years– with help from your team, it’s high time you find the toy prize at the bottom of them all.