The Dallas Cowboys are 4-0 this season. Unfortunately, Tony Romo is 2-2. Last Sunday, the Cowboys managed to fall apart in a record setting fashion. No other Cowboys’ team has ever blown a lead that big with a quarter and half of football yet to be played.
Once again, I have to put the blame on Tony Romo. Now, I have spent the first part of this week reading articles and blog posts defending Romo. Dirk Nowitzki even tweeted support for him. But here is my question: Who else could possibly be to blame?
I understand that Romo played hurt, and that’s admirable. But I don’t think playing hurt had much to do with this loss. Did Romo just not feel pain until midway through the third quarter? That seems like a reach to me. It can also be argued that the young and inexperienced offensive line did not protect Romo while he was in the pocket . . . except they did. Last week, the Cowboys’ offensive line tied with Oakland for the highest protection rating in the NFL scoring a 109.6. They only allowed one sack which occurred during the final drive, long after Romo’s mental collapse.
To me, placing blame anywhere but on Romo’s shoulders is like blaming Tiger Woods’ golf clubs when he falls apart during a golf tournament. He made throws in last week’s game that he never should have made. His third interception was made because he threw the ball off his back foot while running backwards. He knows better than to do that. All quarterbacks know better than that.
Statistically, Tony Romo is amazing. If he is on your fantasy team, you love this guy. But something is going on mentally with him that is just baffling; Tony Romo falls apart while his team is winning by a large margin. I can’t even imagine how to address a problem like this in practice. Sure, we have all seen players panic or not live up their potential in pressure situations. But let’s be honest here – the two games in which Romo fell apart were not pressure situations at all. The games were both clearly in hand. All he had to do was not have a total collapse.
The one thing that statistics won’t ever show is what goes on in a player’s head while he is playing. If I were in Jerry Jones’ shoes, I would be on the phone with every leading sports psychologist in the country trying to get down to the real issue here. The Cowboys are not in a position to get rid of Romo, and I am not calling for his job, but I believe that there is far more going on here than simply not being able to close out games.
Hopefully some kind of miracle breakthrough will happen during the bye week. . .and hopefully I will win the lottery (without actually buying a ticket) and my old pickup truck will magically turn into a cherry ’68 rag top Camaro overnight. Hey, you ‘gotta believe, right?