Many New Yorkers harp on that saying "Eli won a ring" when it comes to this debate. Yet did Eli win that Super Bowl or was it more of the team around him? As I recall it was the Giants' surging running attack, a healthy offensive line, and their defense that stepped up and put massive pressure on opposing quarterbacks during that four game playoff stretch that thrusted New York a top the league. All of these were bigger factors than Eli's play contributing to the Giants' Super run. In fact in the NFC Championship game and Super Bowl combined, Manning looked more like Trent Dilfer (a guy "driving the bus") than a Super Bowl MVP. Manning was 40-74 (54%) with 506 yards (6.8 yards per att.) , 2 touchdowns 1 interception. Is that elite? Still, Giants fans will ride this magic carpet as long as it will take them, but the truth is Romo is simply better and has done more with less protection around him.
For the first years of Romo's rein as Cowboys quarterback, he dealt with the same offensive line that nearly got Drew Bledsoe pummeled week in and week out. Tony was scrambling for his life with a make shift offensive line, and creating opportunities with his feet and heart. Never seen Eli do that! Never seen Eli have to do that. Dallas' defenses during Romo's career here, have been less than stellar too. Hence there is more pressure on Tony to do more for the Cowboys to win consistently. Yet Romo has stood his ground, done more, and has put the Boys into situations to win a lot of games during his career.
Statistically, Romo puts a thumping end to the debate. He completes a higher percentage of his passes for a better yards per attempt. He has 147 touches with 80 ints, while Manning sours with 181 and 128. Every single category is owned by Romo... convincingly! Romo has accomplished this with consistent offensive line problems for pretty much his entire career, while Eli has had one of the best O-lines for a big stretch in his time in New York.
Michael Vick? Well he has a lower completion percentage than Eli, and while Vick and Manning are both nearly a yard off from Tony's average yards per attempt, Vick's interceptions and fumbles often cause him to be a liability. While Philadelphia critics will say "Romo chokes in big situations", Vick has had worse games in big spots and just doesn't produce as consistently as Romo. Eagles lose games as Michael Vick does his best Harry Houdini disappearing act in games the Eagles needed to win. No bigger games this year for Philadelphia than Buffalo and Arizona and Vick combined for 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. These are games the Eagles had to have! Vick just isn't consistent enough to validate being a better player than Romo.
Yet I bring this "debate" up, not because our beloved Cowboys play the Eagles and Giants for all the NFC East marbles in the upcoming weeks, but actually, its because for the first time I can remember Tony Romo has an offensive line in front of him keeping him upright. For the first time in Romo's career Dallas is running the ball without smoke and mirrors. These two factors have escalated Romo into the "elite" quarterback discussion! In fact, you take away the 5 games were Tony played with injections into his injured ribs, and he has 23 touchdowns to 3 interceptions this season. Poor line play and Romo's high risk/high reward playing style has been the object of our ire for the Romo era. But man!!!! Watching this guy have protection (FINALLY!) and picking teams apart the past few weeks, I can't help but think big things for this team! Tony Romo is with no doubt a better quarterback than many give him credit for. Elite? Yes! Super Bowl caliber? No doubt! ..... All I ask is that Jason Garrett lets him go out and win a Super Bowl, rather than collar him and attempt to not lose games in the upcoming weeks. We have grown accustom to "playing it safe" this season, and continuing to do so would be an injustice to Romo and the players on this team. Romo throws one of the prettiest deep balls in the league. He is accurate in the middle of the field. His feet allow him to move the pocket and allows receivers to get down field. Let him carry this team!
The offense's ability to run (and man do I love what Sammy Morris adds to this team) a good fullback, and an o-line playing well... it all makes Romo that much more dangerous late in games. With the way the line is playing, I am not slightly worried about putting games in Romo's hands with the lead late in games. If the defense can step up and the players on this team just decide to play their best (focused and emotional) six games of their careers, the Cowboys have as good a shot as any! Either way .... I want to live or die with Tony Romo. There is nothing like being a fan of a team and watching a particular player (or players) take harsh criticism (whether deserved or not) and watching them grow and overcome the nay-sayers ... and prove the critics wrong. Lets go Romo!!
Lets go Cowboys!!