Since the recent forgettable Meltdown in the Meadowlands, one Cowboy has spent more time with his backside on the hotseat than all others combined. Yep, you guessed it: its our beloved signal-caller, one Antonio Ramiro Romo. Immediately after Sunday's final gun, a legion of angry fans picked up their pitchforks and gathered to storm Castle Garrettstein, eager to skewer quarterback and offensive mastermind alike. I have long been a staunch Romo supporter, but I must admit that even I, still ripe with disappointment at the loss, texted a friend to express that, for the first time, I had doubts about his ability to outgrow the turnover bugaboo that has haunted him.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one. I'd like to direct your attention to the DJ in the corner, who happens to be cuing up a Led Zeppelin groove for your listening pleasure. Yes, its from their classic album, Houses of the Holy. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you'll hear Romo's life story--or at least one of this week's top posters, 5Blings, would have your believe so. In a superb confessional FanPost, The Tony Romo Soundtrack, Blings recounts his history as a Romo supporter and then questions that support. He concluded by asking the questions that plague all of us:
can Romo turn this into an experience that fuels him in a way that leads to excellence throughout the season? Can this be THE defining moment of his career? If not, then this could be the beginning of a swan song. If not, this could be another heartbreak season.
The Led Zep song in question? Blings fears it might be "The Song Remains the Same." As do we all, Blings, as do we all.
Once the initial anti-Romo fervor abated, cooler heads prevailed, and reasoned analysis of the Jets loss began to dot the Interwebs. I tried my darndest to follow suit. In the past 48 hours, we have seen detailed defenses of number 9. As I always try to promote the long-view - and perhaps to make amends for putting my doubt out into the universe - I've chosen to reward that steely-eyed collective entity whose Romosexuality remains unquestioned, including our FanPoster of the Week.
I'd like to get this party started by citing one of our most illustrious FPers, Fan in Thick and Thin, who, in the most recent edition of TMQB (a must-read) offered up the following:
If there’s anything fans overreact about its turnovers. Turnovers are simply unpredictable. Plays like Romo’s fumble happen sometimes. It’s not a sign that Romo isn’t clutch. For the record, Romo has 17 lost fumbles in 6 seasons, or about 3 / year.
BTW, it amuses me because I was saying before the season that it’s silly to spend a lot of time worrying about turnovers. There’s simply a large element that you can’t control. Worry about the things you can control.
I couldn't agree more. Every quarterback makes bad plays and commits turnovers; its the nature of the position. And much of it is luck. Against the Jets, Romo's turnovers mattered because it was a close game. If the defense hadn't faded and the special teams hadn't made a bonehead play at the most inopportune of times, nobody would have batted an eye. Consider: how many turnovers did his counterpart have? As John Madden famously said, "Winning is the best deodorant."
Now off my soapbox, I'd like to announce this week's top poster, Scottmaui, who penned an impassioned defense of Romo. Like a good Country song, he offers up the same chorus--"Romo's Back"--three times, but, because the verse that precedes it is different each time, the chorus changes meaning. To wit: 1) Romo has returned--i.e., from injury; 2) The "Bad Romo" has returned; 3) Maui has Romo's back.
Its what Maui does after the clever wordplay that garners him FPOTW honors. He uses the Romo example as a cautionary against leaping to (early season) conclusions. And he's right; the first week of the NFL season is historically a very poor indicator of overall season success (recall a 2003 opener, in which Buffalo crushed New England 31-0; The Bills finished 6-10 and the Pats went on to win a Lombardi). More interesting to me, however, was this statement:
It is also the nature of the game that the final result strongly colors our evaluation of the individual performances within the game. The exact same plays by a quarterback will be seen quite differently depending on whether his team wins or loses, even if he win or loss is largely due to events beyond his control.
In support of this thesis, Maui presents A Series of Unfortunate Events, a litany of wouldas, couldas and shouldas that, like Romo's turnovers, had they gone differently, might have altered the outcome. Its a compelling list--and a strong argument for taking the long view.
There's a lot more excellent stuff contained therein. I strongly encourage all of you to put down your pitchforks, grab a snack, and read every word. Congrats, Maui!