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What a surprise! Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys gets paid the big bucks and the world of sports goes into outrage. Former Eagles quarterback and now analyst on NFL Network Donovan McNabb tweets the twitter world with a “Tony Romo 6 yr 55 million dollar extension.
Wow really, with one playoff win. You got to be kidding me.” As if his defense that was coordinated by one of the best ever coordinators Jim Johnson, may he rest in peace had nothing to do with McNabb and the Eagles success? As if having one of the better offensive lines and coaching staffs had nothing to do with it? Just like adding Terrell Owens had nothing to do with him reaching the super bowl? Now, McNabb in my opinion was a solid quarterback, but for him to take the route of you got to be kidding me kinds of things was out of the way.
Relax everyone. Take a chill pill before you start saying, “he’s right, he only has one playoff win and shouldn’t get that kind of cheddar cheese!” I’ve been reading Romo bashing memes on facebook, I’ve been listening to talk radio and watching the famous Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith square-offs on ESPN’s First Take and I just couldn’t hold back. Enough is enough! It’s time for me to get down to business and give you the cold hard facts on why Jerry Jones was forced to hand out a wide load of cash and why Romo is worth the big bucks.
Does everyone understand that the Dallas Cowboys began the offseason $20 million over the cap? When you’re in that situation, you’re forced to restructure, release and extend contracts to free up cap space. You can’t just do whatever you want to players. You have rules and restrictions that every organization has to abide by. And when you have an owner/gm that’s made big mistakes by handing out big contracts to players that didn’t come anywhere near to expectation years ago, guess what? You get caught up in a tangled web like Jerry Jones has put the Cowboys in. So, after restructuring a needing of multiple contracts and extending Tony Romo, the Cowboys at least have cap room to sign draft picks or sign a free agent or two. Understood?
Now that I gave my two cents on why the organizational moves were made, we can step into the reality of who Jerry Jones is really paying other than what the fans actually think across the nation. Over and over again, we keep hearing about Romo has only one playoff win as if quarterbacks are the only reason why a team wins or loses a game. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the quarterback position is the most vital in the game, but there’s far more areas on a team that can make or break you. If you really understand the game, you know the importance of having a top tier offensive line and defense. Name me a team that had lots of success with a porous offensive line? Name me a team that won a super bowl with a dismal defense? Name me a team that won a super bowl with a concern within their coaching staff? I bet you won’t find too many of them.
But you can find less talented quarterbacks like Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson that have super bowl rings unlike arguably the best quarterback ever Dan Marino who has zero. And why did Dilfer and Johnson capture a super bowl title each? They played behind a top tier offensive line, had a top tier running game and a top notch defense. Dan Marino by far was light years ahead of Dilfer and Johnson in terms of talent. There’s no “I” in team period. Even the greatest basketball player ever Michael Jordan needed help along the way to win titles. Sounds like I’m trying to say that Romo is a top five quarterback with missing links? No, that’s not where I’m heading here. But he’s definitely in the top 10 range at his position. If you can complete passes at a percentage that has you ranked 6th all-time in that department and are capable of throwing 30-plus touchdown passes behind a shaky offensive line, you have skill.
What about Matt Cassel? When Tom Brady went down with a season ending injury in 08, Cassel stepped in and threw 21-touchdown passes and only 11-interceptions and helped the Patriots win 11 games only missing out on the division to Miami in a tiebreaker. He played well behind a good offensive line. In 2010 behind another good offensive line with Kansas City, Cassel threw 27-touchdown passes and only 7-interceptions. When the offensive line spiraled downward so did Cassel and now he’s a backup quarterback in Minnesota. Good offensive lines treat any quarterback well when you buy him time to throw the ball. It also helps the running game to give your offense balance being able to mix and match to set up the play-action pass.
What drives me crazy in all of this is how playoff and win or go home games have been stamped on the back of these quarterbacks when that shouldn’t be the definition of how good or bad a quarterback is. Everyone wants to continue to bash Romo for his 1-3 playoff record? Let’s forget about Matt Ryan’s 1-4 playoff record or Philip Rivers’ 3-4 playoff record. Nope, all eyes have to be on Romo 24/7 365. He has to be savior in Dallas, a one man show to pull Rabbits out of hats or else he gets no slice of pizza from anyone. No protection upfront, too bad for Romo. With that being said, I understand the term clutch and I’m not going to ignore the fact of his choke artist moments that have erased all that he’s done good.
This is where things get interesting. Archie Manning, father of both Eli and Peyton is looked upon as an icon and gets a pass or should I say an excuse for playing on bad teams and getting sacked 396 times in his career due to playing behind a dismal offensive line. But a player like Romo who’s escaped pressure millions of times and has made tones of big throws doesn’t? Not today. We’re heading into the era of turning quarterbacks into what a pitcher is in baseball and it’s disgusting. This is football! We shouldn’t be awarding team wins and charging losses to quarterbacks. It’s like everyday someone comes up with a new statistic that is meaningless for a quarterback. So when the fans sitting at home see these stats on the TV screen, they base his worth on it.
Let me give you a good example: In Super Bowl XL, Ben Roethlisberger had a bad outing with the worst rating by a winning quarterback completing 9 of his 21 passes for only 123-yards, 0-touchdown passes and 2-interceptions, but his team won the game. But the fans at home thought the Steelers won the game because of Roethlisberger. That wasn’t the case. Not to take anything away from the legends of super bowl winners past, but they had other areas of the team that played a good part in their title runs.
I’m tired of hearing Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless saying, “Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but he’ll break your heart in the end.” Change he’ll to “has” guys. It’s not like Romo doesn’t put this team in position to do something. He’s at least kept Dallas competitive with a shot at the end of the season. It’s not like the season is over by week 8 with the team having no chance of doing anything. And to add more sugar to the punch on Romo’s teammate DeMarcus Ware’s statements on telling Romo to put up or shut up, Zip it! The defense hasn’t stepped up in big games. And when has DeMarcus Ware come up with huge sacks in meaningful games?
Last but not least, the book of Romo’s story isn’t over yet. It’s still opened. Ultimately, how this story ends remains a mystery. To be continued…