Ever since that fateful night in Seattle, Tony Romo has been unfairly criticized for being a choke artist. Unfortunately, in the sports world we live in, any accusation made by ESPN, becomes true. The phrase "perception is reality" has never been more evident.
But that doesn't make it right.
I'm not sure if this label remains relevant because of the botched snap, or his weekend in Cabo, or his lack of Playoff wins, or all of the above, but in reality, Romo deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of the elite quarterbacks. Because that's what he is – an elite NFL quarterback.
On Wednesday, when Romo escaped the Giants pass rush, and eviscerated their depleted secondary, I heard way too many "yeah, buts" associated with his masterful performance. Yeah, but Romo is a mistake waiting to happen. Yeah, but you still know Romo is good for a bone-headed interception. Yeah, but when the game's on the line, you can't trust Tony Romo.
I understand that these criticisms will never change, unless Tony Romo wins a Super Bowl. But what really bothers me, is when Cowboys fans jump on the 'Romo Sucks' bandwagon. Having lived through the Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Anthony Wright, Drew Henson and Quincy Carter eras, I never take Tony Romo for granted, nor should any of you.
After the jump, I'll do my best to debunk two of the Tony Romo myths, as some have already done beautifully.
4th Quarter Interceptions
Consensus is, Tony Romo throws back-breaking interceptions. When I put Romo's fourth quarter stats side-by-side with elite quarterbacks, that doesn't seem to be the case.
In the fourth quarter of overtime of games since 2006, Tony Romo has thrown 19 interceptions on 718 attempts (2.6 INT%). Meanwhile, Eli has thrown 32 interceptions on 951 attempts (3.4 INT%). Drew Brees has thrown 28 interceptions on 980 attempts (2.9 INT%). Tom Brady has thrown 19 interceptions on 757 attempts (2.5 INT%). Peyton Manning has throw 16 interceptions on 716 attempts (2.2 INT%). And Aaron Rodgers has thrown 14 interceptions on 486 attempts (3.6 INT%).
For those scoring at home, the only two QBs with a lower INT% in the fourth quarter or overtime, since 2006, than Tony Romo, are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. That's a good twosome of guys to compare to.
If you're wondering how Romo's INT% compares to those same QBs, in the final 5 minutes of one score games (Clutch City), the numbers are as follows: Romo (4.1%), Rodgers (5.9%), Peyton (1.6%), Brady (3.6%), Brees (4.8%), and Eli (3.3%). Again, very similar.
Game on the Line
Consensus is, you don't want Tony Romo leading your offense down the field with the game on the line. Then, why does he rank similarly to the elite QBs in fourth-quarter comebacks?
Since 2006, the fourth-quarter comeback count is as follows:
Romo = 13 in 78 starts (17%)
Brees = 14 in 95 starts (15%)
Brady = 12 in 81 starts (15%)
Peyton = 16 in 96 starts (17%)
Eli = 19 in 97 starts (20%)
Rodgers = 3 in 62 starts (5%)
*Tebow = 6 in 14 starts (43%)
So, the only elite quarterback with a better 4QC ratio than Tony Romo, is Eli Manning.
Pair that with the fact that Tony Romo has a career winning percentage of 61%, a QB Rating of 97.3 (second all-time to Aaron Rodgers), and a warrior-like mentality, which manifested itself when he played through a fractured rib and punctured lung, and it's flat-out criminal that he doesn't receive the credit he deserves.
Don't let the mainstream media, or the casual fan brainwash you. It's not Tony Romo's fault Terrence Newman is a human hurdle. It's not Tony Romo's fault Jason Garrett iced his own kicker. It's not Tony Romo's fault JPP blocked a field goal. It's not Tony Romo's fault the Cowboys gave up back-to-back 80 yard runs. Tony Romo has never been the problem.
I realize I'm fighting a losing battle here, and any stats I dig up are purely futile. However; the public's perception – thus reality – of Tony Romo won't prevent me for seeing, and preaching, the truth.
Again, there's only one legittimate way Romo can shed these ignorant accusations – it starts with a Lom and ends with a Bardi. Lucky for him, the time is now. And if Wednesday night was any indication, I can't wait to see what Nine has in store for the rest of the league this season.
Buckle up, cause it's gonna be a fun ride.