It's a tough question to hear as a Cowboys fan. And yet we're faced with it, in one form or another, so often. Is Tony Romo an elite quarterback? Can he ever be anything without a Super Bowl ring on his finger?
If you're anything like me, then the haters drive you crazy, too.
So I'm browsing sports online today and came across an article on Dallas Morning News' Sports Day blog about a poll of Texans. They asked questions about a lot of things, but what interested me were the Cowboys questions. Here are the results, as summarized by PPP:
Cowboys fans outnumbers Texans fans in the state 46/33. Tony Romo has a 39/24 favorability rating in the state but voters aren't too impressed with his football skills. Only 30% think he is a elite Quarterback to 35% who say he is not elite and 35% who are not sure. We also asked who people think would do the best job at QB for the Cowboys in the year 2016 and only 28% picked Romo to 27% who picked Troy Aikman (who's 49 years old) and 19% who picked Roger Staubach (who's 74 years old).
What does this guy have to do to catch a break? Win a Super Bowl?
Time and time again, I'm confronted by people arguing that team wins make Troy Aikman a better quarterback than Tony Romo. But give Romo a Super Bowl ring and what changes? Some still argue more rings equal a better quarterback, but some turn a complete 180 and say Romo would be elite if he had a ring. Just one.
On @CowboysNation, Content Manager Mike H. has said it for more than two years now — team accomplishments cannot be used to measure individual worth.
So how can we say he is any less of a player based on his team does?
Did the NFL turn into soccer while I slept?
He's not out there missing penalty kicks to end a game, he's snapping, throwing, and handing off the ball to his teammates. When opponents score against the Cowboys, does anyone blame Tony Romo for not covering the receiver better? Of course not.
That'd be ridiculous. The whole thing is really quite ridiculous.
And as far as this poll goes, I'm going out on a limb here and saying nearly half of those polled aren't even football fans. 46-percent of respondents said either Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach could take the field in 3 weeks — in 2016 — and outplay Tony Romo.
On a more serious note.
I wanted to know how Tony Romo ranked, flat-out, in the NFL's default “Passing Leaders” stats, against other quarterbacks by year. So above is eight of the last nine years (skipping 2015 because he only played a few games), from 2014 back to 2007, listing the top five quarterbacks each year, and Tony Romo.
If Tony Romo was in the top five one year, then that year shows the top six ranked quarterbacks. Written beneath each year are the number of games Tony Romo played in that year, regardless of starts or injuries.
Drew Brees is the only quarterback in the NFL who appeared in the top six each year. It's fair to say that if you're looking for the most elite quarterback since 2007, Drew Brees is the guy.
Of the 17 quarterbacks who made an appearance, Peyton Manning has the second most appearances — behind Brees — with five, followed by Tom Brady with four, and a tie between Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Aaron Rodgers with three each. Oh, and Tony Romo also made three appearances.
Elite quarterbacks are not the quarterbacks with the most rings. They are the quarterbacks who consistently lead the league at their position.
Looking at the numbers, based purely on yards produced, we know who the elite quarterbacks are. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Tony Romo. Yes, and Tony freaking Romo.
I'm as pissed as you Romo doesn't have any rings.
He's played some great football over the years but rarely had a defense able to keep the score down. How many times have we seen 80 and 90-point shoot-outs?
Is Tony Romo the most elite quarterback out there today? No. I was never saying he was either.
I don't know anyone saying he's the best in the game, but I know lots of folks defending themselves from the most asinine perspectives ever dreamed up, just because he wears a star on his helmet.
That's what we're talking about here. The star on the side of that man's helmet each week is a target, and snipers come out of the wood-works whenever he's around.
They're throwing half-truths and team statistics like win-loss records for bullets, but they're always there. And we have to hear their spit all damned day.
What a poll like this shows is Cowboys fans need to make up their minds. Either root for the team, be a fan, or go join the Broncos on Twitter, because we're seeing now just how delusional and self-serving their arguments can be. And over the smallest slight, too.
Anyway, we don't want fans who can't separate a winning (or losing) team from the individuals who make up that team. One is not the other.
Simply put, ladies and gentlemen, teams win Super Bowls, not quarterbacks. Tony Romo is not the exception.