Last Friday night, NFL Network featured former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo in the acclaimed "A Football Life" television series. The episode brought back many thoughts and debates about the quarterback who became the face of the franchise in 2006. It was full of joyful memories, painful images and great memories from good ol' #9.
At one point of the episode, Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones mentioned that Tony Romo would be in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor at AT&T Stadium. This is one of the many discussions that has taken place in Cowboys Nation since Tony's retirement and it seems we've finally got an answer.
Days after NFL Network's piece on the quarterback, Jerry Jones mentioned in 105.3 The Fan that he'd indeed honor Romo by inducting him to the Ring of Honor although he didn't mention any timetable. In the meantime, however, fans will not stop the everlasting debate.
So allow me to share with you my two cents on the topic, and why I believe Tony Romo does deserve to have his name written in the Cowboys' home forever.
As we all know, Tony Romo leads the Dallas Cowboys franchise in touchdown passes (248) and in yards thrown (34,183). He also has the most game-winning drives in team history with 29, which ranks him at 19th in the NFL since 1960. The stats are impressive, there is no denying that. But these numbers won't tell you the story of Romo's polemical career. We need to go beyond stats to discuss his time in the NFL.
Tony Romo may be the most controversial sports figure in the 21st century. Playing at quarterback for the most valuable sports franchise in the world is not an easy task and at the end of the day, his goal of bringing a sixth Lombardi Trophy to Dallas was never achieved. As painful as a botched snap in Seattle may have been, the lack of a Super Bowl win will always be the biggest thing that haunts his legacy.
In his very own words: "After all, they were depending on you to bring them a championship. That's what quarterbacks are supposed to do. That's how we are judged." When it comes to a fan base that knows how it feels to be at the very top of the league, expectations are naturally higher. Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman have combined for five Super Bowl wins, so naturally, that was always the standard for Romo. A standard that was never met.
Even still, he deserves to be inducted into the Ring of Honor. You see, even if he never got to wear a championship ring, he meant a lot to this franchise. At times when the team was a disaster, he managed to make the Dallas Cowboys relevant year after year. It didn't matter who was on the roster, as long as #9 was healthy and on the field, they had a legitimate chance to win the ballgame.
As a young fan, I have no clue what it feels to watch my favorite team play in the Super Bowl. I can't even fathom what it's like. And yet, every time the Cowboys were on TV, there I was. Watching the team because I knew they could win. The main reason why? You guessed it. Tony Romo was in at QB.
There's an entire generation of fans who desperately love this football team because of Tony. This franchise, despite not being to the big game for more than 20 years, is passionately followed by a large group of people thanks to him.
I will always be convinced that wins and losses are a team statistic. Romo was electric on the field. He made epic throws and was one of the best moving around in the pocket. Most of his years playing for Dallas, the Cowboys featured a very poor supporting cast. He played for three different head coaches. He had to carry the team because for years he had shaky offensive lines and poor defenses.
Think about the punctured lung game, the 2013 Broncos shootout, the 2014 comeback versus the Redskins. All those great moments thanks to him.
I'll never put the lack of a sixth Cowboys' Super Bowl ring solely on his back. To me, that'll never be an argument that justifies omitting him from the Ring of Honor.
"If I had to list my number one disappointment since owning the Cowboys, it would be not to have gotten Tony Romo to a Super Bowl." Jerry Jones on 105.3 The Fan.
Tony Romo deserves to be remembered by Cowboys Nation. He always elevated the level of play of those around him and he gave it all for this franchise. He was an awesome player, a great teammate and one hell of a leader. Sure, his career may go down in our memories with a lot of "what could've been" thoughts. But there are many memories and victories that occurred thanks to him. And for that, along with many other Cowboys' fans, I'll always be grateful. That's my quarterback.
Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.
Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:
- WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
- LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
- CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable
The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.
Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.
Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.
- WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
- WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
- S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
- RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
- RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
- G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
- CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
- CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable
It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.
Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.
Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.
In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.
Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.
Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.
Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.
Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.
Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.
Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.
The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.
Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.
Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.
Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.
Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.
He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.
If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.
Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.
Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.
That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.
#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance
It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.
But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.
According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.
Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.
What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.
For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.
As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.
Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.
Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).
Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.
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