Yesterday, I detailed why I felt that the NFL’s trend of team rushing yard leaders having mediocre finishes could be debunked by this year’s Dallas Cowboys.
The main reason I felt this was true, was that those same yards must be converted to touchdowns to have a quantifiable impact on the game, in most cases.
I also discussed how the Cowboys offense is very different from those who led the league in rushing before them. Teams like the Denver Broncos in 2011 and the New York Jets in 2009; they had no where near the offensively that this Cowboys team has when healthy.
But this argument centers around just one man: the quarterback, Tony Romo.
Claiming “well, Romo will be back” feels lazy, doesn’t it?
When an Eagles fan tells me the Cowboys won’t return to their 2014 success, for whatever reason, I don’t want to just respond with “Romo is back, and his impact will make all the difference.”
It’s lazy and feels just as much like a cop out as the Eagles fan blindly hating Romo.
There are a ton of reasons why a team wins or loses a particular game, or continue to win or lose throughout a season. The 2015 Dallas Cowboys had many more problems than Tony Romo being injured. We all recognize that. The thing is, those problems weren’t on full display for us to point to until he was out.
But how many struggles in 2015 were due to Tony Romo’s absence? And how much of 2016’s potential success will be because of Tony Romo’s presence?
Jonathon Bales, the co-founder of Fantasy Labs, shared an interesting graphic on Twitter yesterday, detailing just how important Tony Romo is to the Dallas Cowboys:
Per @RotoViz, the Cowboys’ splits w/ and w/o Romo the past four years are nuts.
Tony Romo’s impact on the Cowboys seems like a folktale sometimes, so seeing it spelled out with real numbers was truly jarring. Every aspect of the game is worse when Tony Romo doesn’t play, besides total rushing yards. However – as I pointed out yesterday – fewer yards and more touchdowns may actually be ideal.
For example, since 2012, the Cowboys have averaged almost 3 touchdown passes per game when Tony Romo plays, compared to just under 1 when Tony Romo doesn’t play.
The Dallas Cowboys also average almost 50 more passing yards when Tony Romo plays versus when he doesn’t. Others I would’ve thought were true, but they were still incredible to see.
Like the Cowboys average 10.2 less points per game when Tony Romo doesn’t play. When Romo is out, the team is outscored by an average of 8.14 points per game. That means that our quarterback alone accounts for two possessions worth of scoring per game!
Stop and think about how utterly ridiculous that is, right now.
Probably a little bit of both…
As far as the importance of rushing touchdowns to a team’s success? Yeah, Tony Romo’s presence increases those too.
These numbers even go as far as to indicate that the Cowboys defense gives up slightly more points per game when Tony Romo isn’t playing.
I point all of this out to say that while the “Tony Romo will be back and he’ll fix everything!” argument is certainly flawed, and a bit simplistic at times, there are numbers that back up the ridiculousness of his impact on this entire team.
Inside The Star’s own Staff Writer, RJ Ochoa even pointed out that Tony Romo has “truly” only lost two games while starting at quarterback since December 15th, 2013. And no one is more well-versed in the Romo department than RJ, so his birthday tribute to our captain is a must read.
Tony Romo is a special, special player. His impact cannot and should not be understated. These numbers just prove that the 2016 Cowboys may be set for a quick rise to NFC supremacy with Romo back in the lineup.