The death of Romo?

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

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This past Sunday, Sept. 20, the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback Tony Romo broke his collarbone against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 20-10 win. The injury means that the Cowboys are without their star quarterback for at least eight weeks.

At 35-years old and with another major injury on the books, it begs the question; is Tony Romo done? If he is done; what is his legacy?

Maybe it’s too far fetched to say Romo’s career is over, but the brittle-boned quarterback is not getting any younger. Although the 12-year veteran seems to be in his prime and playing some the best football of his life, prior to the injury, history has shown that quarterbacks in their mid to late 30s do not age well, especially when they suffer serious injuries.

I’m not going to eulogize Romo, but since he will be out for more than half of the season, it’s appropriate to reflect on Romo’s career and clear up some recent misconceptions about No. 9.

Whenever Romo’s career ends there is going to be a huge debate surrounding just how good he was. The stats by almost all accounts say that he was pretty damn good. But his playoff flubs and injuries halt Romo from being considered in the same discussion with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning.

Cowboy fans of late have conveniently forgotten about the Romo of old, whom they scolded, booed and consistently asked to be traded. The Romo narrative has gone through a drastic change; and now he is a clutch quarterback who can carry a team.

These new assertions about Romo are true, but only to a certain extent. Any Romo supporter will torpedo you with his elite fourth-quarter stats, game-winning drives, etc. But they don’t mean much when the games have no bearing on playoff implications.

Does anyone remember those three-straight 8-8 seasons from 2011 to 2013?

The coup de grâce for most Romo supporters are his “rock solid” playoff stats that rank amongst the best in NFL history. This argument is the most pathetic and probably the most illogical.

Although Romo’s career playoff stats in six games are good, they are no where near great. His 2-4 record and two-game losing turnovers in 2006 and 2007 show anything but great. But if you really want to put Romo’s playoff numbers in context, you have to understand that they are slightly inflated due to the Cowboys’ playoff run last season.

You take away last season’s playoff run and Romo’s career stats are subpar to decent.

Lastly, the assertion that Romo can carry a team is off base. His best season, which came last season, came at the expense of 392 rushing attempts by DeMarco Murray.

Then there is the argument that Romo’s numbers are better then Troy Aikman’s numbers, so by that fact he must be really good. That would be true if Aikman, himself, were an elite quarterback, which he was not.

Aikman was more or less a game manager who was surrounded by a plethora of offensive talent, starting with Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

I know what this sounds like just another asshole who hates the Cowboys. But it’s really not—Romo is a good quarterback who is on the cusp of being elite/great.

He has had the tools at his disposal to build a great career, and in part he has been dealt with a bad hand in the injury department. The biggest flaw in Romo’s career is his timing. If he came around in the late ‘80s he might possibly have multiple rings on his finger.

But Romo’s career is not over, he still has time to rectify his playoff shortcomings and build on his legacy. As for now, the Cowboys are stuck. They are committed long term to a good quarterback, who is neither elite nor self-sustainable for a 16-game season.

The Cowboy nation has deluded themselves into thinking they have a championship-caliber team, when in reality they are a fringe playoff team at best on a year-to-year basis.

Speaking pessimistically, the Cowboys should consider the future of their franchise very heavily over the course of this season, and it starts with evaluating the man under center.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

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