Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was ranked 15th in ESPN’s NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s annual quarterback countdown list. This ranking has brought back talk about Romo’s play and his status among his peers.
Frankly, these “power ranking” type countdowns for teams or players have no real use other than to spark debates and in this case, Jaworski has succeeded. However, despite the irrelevance of these rankings, I must make an argument, as to why Romo should be ranked higher.
Jaworski said of Romo, “I have always liked Romo, but his play in the final regular season game of the 2012 season with the NFC East title on the line still bothers me. You just can’t make mistakes, regardless of whose fault it is.”
Mistakes are very costly in an NFL game to be sure but the fact of the matter is that all players make mistakes. Even the greatest players make mistakes when the game is on the line.
For years critics said that Peyton Manning, couldn’t win the big games. He ended up winning a Super Bowl, and I would guess that Manning lands somewhere in Jaworski’s top five QB’s as the countdown continues.
Jaworski sees Romo through the same lens with which many view the Cowboys’ QB. This lens focuses on the final outcome of a game and a singular part of that game, essentially missing the big picture.
Only Drew Brees and Matt Stafford threw more passes than Tony Romo last season. Romo and Brees each threw 19 interceptions and Stafford threw 17 interceptions. The point is that these guys are asked to do much more than quarterbacks like Collin Kaepernick or Robert Griffin.
Jaworski ranked Griffin 13th and Kaepernick is probably soon to follow. These two players’ only standout statistic last season was having a good touchdown to interception ratio. However, their teams were successful so I wonder, is Jaworski’s ranking based on team success or just the individual quarterback’s contribution to their team?
Romo was ranked 15th by Jaworski and Stafford ranked 16th. Expect Brees lands somewhere around 5th or 6th, yet his statistics are very similar to Romo and Stafford’s. What’s the difference between these players?
Brees has won a Super Bowl, but that didn’t make him become a better player, because he was already that good. Romo, like Brees, has the talent and skill to win that elusive championship. He plays a high risk, high reward game and apparently that isn’t a very popular style.
Now, Romo isn’t Manning or Tom Brady by any means, but he isn’t middle of the road either. He threw for almost 5,000 yards and was the only truly consistent player for his team during an injury riddled season.
QB’s like Collin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III are not asked to contribute as much to a game as Romo is. They are asked to not lose a game, while he is asked to win the game.
The 49ers were a playoff team before Kaepernick became a starter and the Redskins squeezed into the playoffs with tough defense and a good rushing game.
Without Romo, Dallas probably would have be fighting with the Eagles to stay out of last place in the NFC East. He’s a top 10 quarterback in the NFL.
In conclusion, Jaworski’s countdown basically seems to be a popularity contest. The good news is Romo doesn’t care about rankings; he’s just ready to win a championship.