Following the week one meltdown against the New York Jets, the FanPost coffers were filled with golden nuggets about one Antonio Ramiro Romo. As might be expected, that week's edition of the FanPost of the Week awards featured Romo-centric stories. Alas, I naively assumed that would be our one, solitary Romo-based FPOTW. Buuuuuut NOOOO, Sunday's "Meltdown II, three-pick bugaloo" has prompted a new wave of posts about our (formerly) beloved #9.
As before, there was a pretty clear post-game trajectory: immediately after the game, posters were livid, and strident in their condemnation of Romo. Mostly, this consisted of "I am now officially done with Tony Romo" talk; like jilted lovers whose super-hot girlfriend had played around one too many times, BTBers seemed to have crossed that line where the good stuff no longer outweighed the bad. As the week progressed and we all worked our way through the various stages of mourning, more sober responses began to pop up, with the common theme being that this debacle was a team loss. But you didn't come here to listen to me babble on; you want to see some FanPosts, right? Let's cut to the action:
This week's top FanPosts after the jump...
The most impressive I'm-done-with-Romo post was authored by one of our most honored FPers--and one of BTB's most fervent fans: 5Blings. Blings presents a post-game analysis, offering both positives and negatives. The lone negative: number 9. Blings uses a metaphor that the media has been rolling out of late: the roller-coaster, but takes it further. I'll allow him to explain:
I love roller coasters, but the thing about them is that you only ride them when you’re on vacation. They’re short. They end. Then life returns to normal, steady footing. But not this one. Not with Tony Romo. This roller coaster feels like one we just can’t get off of. The car pulls into the loading area, but the safety harness stays down. It was fun and I liked the heart-pounding excitement, but once is enough. I’m ready to get off and do something else. But no. Off you go again. Pulled up to the top and then let loose upon the track again. Over and over and over.
This is one of the most accurate descriptions of fandom in general that I have ever encountered--and doubly so as a description of a player who manages to embody the highest highs and lowest lows that almost every season in every sport has in store for its most passionate fans. Great stuff, as always, Blings!
I also really appreciated the balanced take offered by NYHorn, who led off with the obvious: "Tony Romo sucked Yesterday." He then stepped away from the ledge, with the following:
We had a 2 possesion lead coming in to the 4th. The defense couldn't stop Stafford, and in 3 drives the gained 17 points. Granted one of the drives was due to a Romo interception but losing was a team effort. And this is the really important point. If we're going to start throwing words like Clutch and Leadership around, is QB going to be the only position we deign to throw them at.
I couldn't agree more. This team is tougher than Wade Phillips' squads, but seems still to be sloughing off the layers of loser's residue that they acquired during his time here. Its going to take some time before this entire TEAM is clutch. And once they are, I believe it will be much easier for their quarterback to be. Nice work, Horn; keep on posting!
And this leads me to our winner: ScarletO, who pens a superbly-reasoned post outlining why Romo continues to offer the Cowboys the best chance to win games. SO looks at the number of games in which Romo and other quarterbacks, who have won Super Bowls, throw interceptions - breaking it down by how many are thrown per game. What elevated ScarletO's post to top spot honors was the conclusion he reached. I found it so interesting that I want to print it here in its entirety:
This data would suggest that when Romo takes chances down the field and pushes the limits (resulting in one interception) the Cowboys win much more often than teams led by Super Bowl champion quarterbacks. Combine the finding with the fact that Dallas does not win nearly as often as those other teams when no interceptions are thrown, and several other conclusions can be drawn.
Most likely is that the Cowboys are not a good team when Romo does not take enough chances down the field. Considering the number of penalties Dallas used to incur, the dropped passes, and the countless mental mistakes seen since 2007, it is not hard to see why a conservative passing game does not suit this team.
Another conclusion could be that this Dallas Cowboys team is really not that good if Romo is not taking chances and making plays. Emmitt Smith is not in the backfield, Deion Sanders is not in the secondary, and none of the interior offensive linemen will be confused for Nate Newton, Larry Allen, or Mark Stepnoski.
What SO is suggesting is that Romo has been forced to walk a very thin line. Recent Cowboys teams haven't been good enough for Romo NOT to take chances and still win--but if he takes one too many, they aren't good enough to overcome that (with the peculiar exception of the 2007 contest at Buffalo).
I find this to be crucial information. Consider that the meltdowns against the Jets and Lions involved defensive and special teams collapses (blocked punts for touchdowns; the disappearance of pass rush in the fourth quarter; the abject failure to tackle the ponderous Bobby Carpenter), and it becomes clearer that both were TEAM losses (again to Romo's five interception game at Buffalo: the Cowboys won that night because the defense completely shut down the Bills. Had the defense played anywhere near that well in either of the losses this season, both would have been victories, regardless of Romo's miscues).
Jason Garrett, a career backup, preaches the importance of all 53 guys on the roster--that all of them will be expected to contribute to winning football. This was true of Jimmy Johnson's teams, and increasingly true of this iteration of the Cowboys. When they win, we have to give credit to all 53, and when they lose, the blame should be fairly distributed as well. I thank ScarletO for reminding me of that.
Congrats to SO and to all this week's winners--and lets all hope that this is the last Romo-centric FPOTW for the foreseeable future!