Yesterday was devastating. When I became a Dallas Cowboys fan I was an innocent eight year old kid. They made the playoffs in 2003 and then missed it until 2006. Throughout the past six years though, I've grown up as a fan. By that I mean I've been through enough bad losses that have made me angry at the world for a few days. A few bad losses that made me really reflect back on the season and what was lost. You see, the 2012 Cowboys are done. No matter how good a season I felt we had, it's over. Time to restart for 2013. The team will never be the same. Sure, the core players may still be there. Only one year older. There will be little changes along the way too. For our sake I hope major changes happen in the interior of this team. That's for another post though. The front page writers have done an excellent job of somewhat keeping their spirits up despite the game that was played last night. To be able to see the big picture after last night is a special talent only a few have. The optimism to look towards the draft after what resulted last night is just something I can't come to fruition with just yet. I will get there. This post will certainly help that happen.
It's not hard to realize Tony Romo is a top 10 QB in the NFL. There's probably only seven QBs you can make a case for when saying they're better than Tony Romo. If you want to get rid of Tony Romo, that's fine. Seriously, I'm okay with it. I'm not going to argue with you. Let's be honest though, if you're on the get rid of Romo side get ready for a few years of rebuilding. There are no QBs in the draft that can turn a franchise around like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson. If you think either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley can do it, then think again. Both are supposedly the best in this class, yet I doubt if any of them would be taken ahead of the three rookie post-season QBs I mentioned above. Barkley would have went off the board in the first round last year, but his draft stock has taken a major dive this year. The point is, if you want Romo gone expect the long journey ahead that is finding a franchise QB.
Now if you want Romo to stay, but you're sort of on the edge realize this. Yes, Tony Romo had a lot to do with the loss yesterday. The Cowboys 1-6 record in elimination games over the past few years most likely had a lot to do with the poor play of Tony Romo. Actually, that's poorly phrased. The ill-timed mistakes of Tony Romo are probably the cause for that. Last night after the loss I turned to NFL Network to hear the press conferences from the coaches and players. The round table was out talking about the game and Deion Sanders words struck me. Normally they don't because of his blatant dislike for Tony Romo, but I sensed something different last night. Sanders said that Romo needs to take a picture of what happened and every year resort back to it. Why? Because this happens every year. It's become an annual thing. Romo throwing an interception in a key spot of a crucial football game for the Dallas Cowboys has become a common thing. Yet, we all are shocked by it somehow. It's really a mystery, but there might be some reasons why we all become infatuated with it. For one, Romo plays extremely well. ESPN's NFC East Blogger Dan Graziano wrote a piece about Romo not being talked about over a week ago. The numbers for Romo in the last eight games were off the charts. The Sunday Night Football crew posted Romo's 4th quarter stats for the month of December and it blew fans away. Then, with a chance to give the Cowboys a lead, Romo throws a pick on a panic throw. The cyclic pattern that is Tony Romo continues.
What Romo needs to do is gain confidence in himself during these situations. We thought he had, especially after bringing his team back from 14 down with a little over four minutes to go. That's why we find what happened last night so surprising.
Michael Irvin compared Romo to Brett Favre due to the interceptions. He called Favre an interception king. This is true, but Romo is not an interception king. He actually keeps his interceptions down. A 2.8% career INT% for Romo in comparison to Favre's 3.3%. It's the spots in which Romo throws interceptions that make him unable to win the big game.
There are others to blame here. Only a fool can blame one person for the entire loss last night. Garrett's inability to be aggressive at the end of the half might have lost the Cowboys points. At some point in Garrett's coaching career he's going to have to become more aggressive in big situations. If not expect a lot of close games and the Cowboys win loss differential to be close too.
I really wish that roughing the passer penalty on Hatcher never happened. Romo would have had a second chance to drive the Cowboys down the field with over 2:00 minutes to win the game. But the Cowboys have to capitalize on their chances earlier in the game and can't rely on a banged up defense to bail out the offense's mistakes.
Whatever you may believe is the problem, realize one man can't win a football game by himself.