Tony Not So Great Romo
By Davon Hill
There is no doubt that Tony Romo has been the most criticized player in the Cowboys organization for the past couple of years. However, after his most recent collapse against the undefeated Detroit Lions, it is safe to say that Romo has become the most targeted and scrutinized quarterback in the NFL. Some people believe he lacks focus throughout the game, while others believe Romo simply cannot perform in pressure situations. Exactly why can’t Romo close out games? There is no simple one word answer to this question.
Romo’s inconsistency did not just start in this season, but in fact, his troubles date all the way back to his 2006 season following the benching of their former starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. Immediately after his promotion to starting quarterback, Romo led the Cowboys to four straight wins. This impressive streak included a win over the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts. However, Romo proved that all hot streaks must come to an end, and in the following week the Cowboys suffered a disheartening loss to the Philadelphia Eagle, 23-20. Romo would finish that game with two interceptions and zero passing touchdowns. However, he would not be heavily criticized because It was only in fact his first loss. Romo would follow up on this dismal performance by loosing 2 out of the next 3 games. These two losses included one to the worst team in the NFL, the Detroit Lions who were 2-13. These would prove to not just be two ordinary losses, but they would cost the Cowboys the division championship. Although their regular season ended miserably, the Cowboys would earn a wild-card spot to the play-offs where they would go up against the Seattle Seahawks. This game was very competitive and as the Cowboys trailed 21-20 with second’s remaining, the season for the Seahawks seemed to be over, as the cowboys lined up for an easy 19-yard field goal. However, with a guy named Tony Romo on your team, you can never quite say the game is over. Most kickers live for the chance to kick a game-winning field goal in the play-offs, and I am sure Nick Folk, the Cowboy’s kicker at the time was just as excited. However, seconds later he would be just as disappointed because Tony Romo would fumble the snap and cost the Cowboys the play-off win. This very memorable loss and disappointing season in the Cowboys history would foreshadow the struggles of Romo for years to come.
The cowboys have just come off a motivating victory against their historic rivals, the Washington on Redskins 18-16. The following week, going against the young and confident Detroit Lions would be no easy task. The fact that the Cowboys were missing their top receiver, Miles Austin, would not help their chances in getting a much needed victory. However, Tony Romo and the Dallas cowboys jump out to a quick lead. Romo finished the game with 331 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, in what some would call a great game for a NFL quarterback. Up 24 points going into the second half, it was almost certain that the Cowboys would win the game. All they had to do was run the clock down and play a conservative style game for the entire second half. However the cowboys had something else in mind. They continued to play aggressively, and the problems surmounted drive after drive. Romo would throw two interceptions that would be returned for touchdowns. Then on a key drive, Romo threw another interception, which the Lions would capitalize on and score a touchdown. That’s right. Tony Romo, an offensive player, accounted for 21 of the 34 points scored by the Detroit Lions by himself.
Let’s make no mistake, Romo is very good and effective, and is a starting quarterback in the NFL. His stats rank among the best in the NFL year in and year out. Over his career he has accumulated a 95.3 quarterback rating and has thrown 125 touchdowns to 67 interceptions. Statically this is very good. Also, Romo is tied for most games in Cowboy history with at least 3 touchdown passes. So, it’s no surprise that Romo still starts for the heavily talented Dallas Cowboys.
So why can’t Romo close out games? It may be that he lacks focus, or that he can’t perform under pressure. There is no concrete answer to that question, but one thing is for sure, if Romo doesn’t get it together soon and become a more consistent and winning quarterback, the question will be why can’t Romo find a job?