Earlier today, Raf posted a great defense of Romo using facts and stats. My thoughts here are somewhat more emotional in nature.
That was as tough a loss I have had to sit through as a Dallas Cowboys fan. I actually went into the game expecting to lose; their defense was too good, the conditions were horrible and they are a great team at home. Then when the Cowboys had a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, I was more elated than I ever thought possible.
Then in the span of 7 minutes it all came crashing down around us.
The easy way out is to blame Tony Romo. He wasn't sharp, his decision making wasn't great, and he seemed a bit jumpy. Mainly he seemed cold. Cowboys fans that expect playoff victories and Super Bowls see a very talented team that has underachieved the past few seasons and who seem on the verge of another late season letdown. The focal point for all of our frustrations go directly to the leader of the team, who has a knack for not putting up the best numbers after December 1st.
Some say things like Romo isn't the answer and this team will never go far in the playoffs with him under center. Others say that while Romo is good, his mistakes are too many and drown out whatever good he can do for the team. Some may say he's just another Danny White, a good quarterback who could never get it done when it counted most.
To all of those who say those things, and think the Cowboys are stuck and wish they could bring someone else in....I just sigh and shake my head.
I am not a complete homer; I don't ignore the mistakes Romo has, nor do I not worry about his propensity to wilt late in the season. I get frustrated along with everyone else and I question his thinking a lot of times. But we must ask ourselves, why is it exactly that we are so disappointed in Tony Romo when he has these games?
90% of teams in the NFL are uncertain about their future at quarterback. Only a few are set for the next few season at that position, and when you make that kind of commitment you have to do two things: be thankful you have found a player you can depend on, and live and die with his ups and downs. Even the best quarterbacks of all time stumble once or twice in their career.
We get disappointed when Romo has bad games because we know exactly what he is capable of. We've seen him set aside the worst game of career by far, and lead his team to two scores in the final two minutes and win the game. How many times has Romo led the Cowboys to scoring drives right before the half, helping to turn momentum in Dallas' favor? He does it so many times, we come to expect it and rely on his ability to rally the team around him and lead them down the field when we need it most so that when he doesn't do it.....we're heartbroken, angry and wanting to lay blame.
In thinking about the game against Pittsburgh we must remember one key thing: the Steelers' defense is the BEST in the league, one of the all time best, and a killer against good quarterbacks. Add to that the horrible conditions the Cowboys were playing in and the odds were stacked against the Dallas passing attack. What makes the whole thing the most frustrating and why I think everyone has gotten up in arms about Romo is that we saw the potential was there for the Cowboys to actually beat this great defense. If only Romo was sharp, if only the receivers didn't quit on routes, if only........
It's like that dreaded "potential" word adults use when talking about underachieving children. "I wouldn't be so mad if I didn't know he was wasting so much potential".
Tony Romo was more than capable of leading the Cowboys on a game winning (then game tying) drive in the final two minutes, but this time it didn't work out. How many times when given the chance, had Romo failed to win or tie a game at the last second? Twice. Last year against the Giants, and Sunday in Pittsburgh. That's it, compared to all the other times he has been successful. (I don't count the loss in Washington in 2006, he led the team down the field only to have Vanderclank get blocked).
So when we get frustrated and angry, we must remember to take the good with the bad. Realize that without Romo this team is aimless and would never have the opportunity it has now. Know that if given the chance, Romo is more than capable of winning the game on his own 4 out 5 times. I'll take those odds any day.
Now, go out there and win the last three games Tony Romo....or else I might get angry myself.
Speaking of Tony Romo, here is another perfect example why sometimes we should forgive the football blunders and celebrate how great a person he is. We know about him helping change a tire in the middle of the night, and buying a homeless man a movie ticket. He also loves to make kids smile.
Despite a heartbreaking loss to the Steelers, Cowboys players made their way Cook Children's Hospital of Fort Worth to help brighten some childrens' day. Tashard Choice went all out, singing to the kids
The highlight of the day was supposed to be Romo, but rumors flew he wouldn't show. Then when he did, all the down and out feeling from the loss were forgotten.
So why not just beg out, just this once, considering everything?"Because there are some things more important in life than football and sports," Romo told me before being whisked upstairs for room visits. "This stuff allows you to realize what is really important in life and sometimes winning and losing a football game isn't everything."
Anthony Henry might be seeing more time at safety, depending on the injuries to Hamlin and Davis.
"I figured at some point in my career I might have to move to safety," Henry said. "I wasn't sure about it coming about this way or in my own timing. But maybe the time is right. We're trying to make a run for the playoffs and for all of us to be on the field at the same time. I'm willing to do it."
Roy Williams said he wasn't surprised Barber couldn't go.
When I asked him why not he said, "because it's a dislocation of your foot. Its not like it's your finger and you can tape it up. You have to plant on it. That's your foot. Your toe. It's little and we joke about it and tell him to cut it off like Ronnie Lott but it hurts. I know he wanted to be out there and Choice did a good job of replacing him but we just didn't have that punishing type back like he is."