If you don't read another word I say this whole offseason, I nonetheless thank you for giving me your time and attention here.
We got off easy. Tony Romo gave the Cowboys one hell of a discount and that's no lie. Here's the proof:
We all know he had an off year, and it was largely because of dumb WRs, pathetic runnng game, and even worse o-line. No one could be successful under those circumstances, right?
Enter Tony freakin' Romo.
Now, some things happened early on. Witten was clearly off for several games and dropped huge passes. Dez was imprecise in his routes. Kevin Ogletree was in the line up.
But, in order, Witten came back, Ogletree was supplanted by Harris and (later) Hanna... and Dez... oh my, Dez.
I believe the best thing to happen to the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 was the pinky. I believe Dez watched the tape and someone said to him "that, son, is the difference between winning and losing in the NFL." and Dez got the message. He knew that "about right" wasn't good enough when games were decided by fractions of an inch. He had lived it, and he began focusing.
With Dez finally reliable and understanding what 100% really is, Tony Romo proceeded to go on a tear. Yes, without any running game. Yes, behind that line. And yes, absolutely, Dez Bryant was a huge part of it. But someone had to get Dez (and others) the ball during that time... despite the onslaught of free blitzers and unblocked stunters coming right into his face... and find a way to get a limping 3-4 team back into playoff contention. Every game counted from here. Every win was a must have, and we were playing with the worst running game in team history and a defense that would eventually surrender 33 points to the Vick-less 4-12 Eagles.
Through that 9-game stretch, Romo went 239/365 for 2830 yds 19 TD and 6 INT. That is an INT rate of Aaron Rodgers-like 1.6%, BTW. Consider how much we were throwing, how little we were running, and how bad the o-line was playing and let that sink in.
For a season that projects to an MVP-worthy 424/649, 65.5%, 5031 yds, 34 TD and 11 INT.
THAT is how good Romo played, with each game being monumental, with literally the whole team on his shoulders.
Flacco money? HA! We got off very cheaply indeed.
As an aside, Dez's production during this time, projected out to a single season, comes to 91 catches, for 1621 yds and 18 TDs -- stellar, but also about what you'd expect for a #1 receiver in a year like Romo projects to. There's still over 330 completions, 3300 yds, and 16 TDs (projected) that went elsewhere.
Call me kool-aid drunk all you want. These are the facts of the matter. And they are stunning.