If the league's scoring, specifically aerial scores, remains consistent over the years, it would stand to reason that records set in any era could stand the tests of time. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo holds the top two season totals for passing yardage in team history, and three of the top seven. He ranks third of all Cowboys quarterbacks in Pro Football Reference's Adjusted Yard per attempt metric (Passing Yards + 20 * Passing TD - 45 * Interceptions) / (Passes Attempted) with an 8.4 average. He holds the record for most passing touchdowns in a single season with 36, seven over his closest competitor. In 2010, despite the teams lackluster record, Romo was posting an amazing 69.5 completion percentage. When journeyman backup quarterback Jon Kitna replaced Romo he maintained a 65.7 percentage, proving the Cowboys offense remains consistent. It's no wonder then that NFL.com recently hailed Romo's return as the reason the Cowboys have the best passing offense in the NFC East.
There's a common misconception that the NFL has evolved into a pass happy league, that scoring is up and the league is doing everything in their power to give offenses the advantage. The facts are that scoring in the NFL has remained remarkably consistent over the last 60 to 70 years. Don't get me wrong, we are currently on a slight uptick over the last four seasons, with the team average hovering around 21.8 points per game. Since 1942 though, there have only been 15 seasons in which the average points came in under 20 per contest.
Receiving touchdowns? In 2010, the average was 1.5 per game, tying for 2nd overall in league history. Tied with the '58, '62, '52, '63, '54, '87 and '61 seasons (trailing 1947, '48 and '65 at 1.6 per game), that is. How do these averages equate to a Cowboys conversation? Well, when someone tries to belittle Tony Romo breaking records left and right as inflated stats in a pass heavy league, you can tell them where they can return that opinion to.
The NFL.com piece does a great job of illustrating the truths we here at BTB know well.
Hands down, the Dallas Cowboys have the best passing offense in the NFC East...
Led by the clever schemes of coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys use a diversified offensive system that incorporates the unique talents of the skill players...Since wide receiver Miles Austin thrives with the ball in his hands, Garrett typically puts the quarterback in position to get it to Austin on the move. This allows Garrett to take advantage of Austin's extraordinary running skills to produce big plays in the open field. Dez Bryant is the team's most explosive player, and he is often used on vertical routes to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. Jason Witten anchors the unit with his playmaking skills over the middle. He has a knack for getting open between the hashes, and his ability to win against linebackers and safeties forces opponents to alter their coverage.
The short article doesn't even have the time to mention good ol' Felix Jones and his 48 catches out of the backfield. It speaks to Kitna's performance as evidence of Garrett's offensive play-calling prowess and that Romo's athleticism and arm strength give him the ability to be "ultra-productive'.
So now the question sits, is the article correct? Do the Cowboys compare favorably to their division rivals? Philadelphia has one of the most electrifying players in the game at quarterback. Michael Vick has great weapons at his disposal, but DeSean Jackson having the worst drop rate in the league last year probably eliminated them. The NY Giants have a Super Bowl winning quarterback in Eli Manning. A year after Steve Smith became a breakout star with 108 catches, Hakeem Nicks had his own coming out party in 2010, emerging as the Giants number one receiver. When injuries hit both of them, wide receiver Mario Manningham demonstrated the talent to be the main guy. However, Manning threw a career high 25 interceptions last season, so it would be hard to nominate the G Men. The Redskins... ok, moving on.
What say you, BTB? Does Romo's return solidify the Cowboys as the divisions biggest threat to cornerbacks everywhere?