Team Tony

Tony Romo isn't what's wrong with the Cowboys — everything else is

Tony Romo isn't what's wrong with the Cowboys — everything else is

Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo is putting up incredible numbers this season, but he can't win games on his own. Dallas Cowboys/Facebook
Matt Schaub Texans Seattle
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is having rough start to the season. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Robert Griffin III
Fresh off knee surgery, Robert Griffin III isn't living up to his reputation as NFL Rookie of the Year. Washington Redskins/Facebook
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos quarterback
Peyton Manning is arguably the only quarterback playing better than Romo in 2013. Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys
Matt Schaub Texans Seattle
Robert Griffin III
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos quarterback

During the gut-wrenching end of the latest Cowboys setback, I watched another Tony Romo turnover seal the team's fate and steeled myself for the inevitable onslaught of irrational Romo bashing.

I prepared for phrases such as “choker” and “he just can’t win big games” like we've seen in the past every time Dallas loses. Then the oddest thing happened — the articles criticizing Romo were outnumbered by the ones supporting him.

People are beginning to realize that blaming Cowboys’ losses on Romo is incredibly simplistic and only a fraction of the truth. He does deserves partial blame for turning over the ball — sometimes in mind-numbing fashion — but he's far from the cause of Dallas' woes.

 Football is a team sport, and Romo has rarely had anything resembling a playoff team around him.

Without Romo, Dallas wouldn’t even be competitive. Football is a team sport, and Romo has rarely had anything resembling a playoff team around him.

Romo put up a record-breaking 506 yards against Denver. The rest of the team couldn't do its part to get the win.

The loss isn't on Romo, who played a near-perfect game. The loss belongs to the defense that gave up 51 points and the offensive line that made Romo scramble and scamper for most of the game.

It’s possible that people are thawing on Romo because of the late-game mistakes many quarterbacks are making this season. One only needs to travel a few hours down to the south of us to find a fan base more than willing to trade their team’s signal caller for Romo. 

The great quarterback struggle is playing out all across the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger (once the definition of a clutch quarterback) has yet to win a game this season. Matt Ryan and the Falcons have gone from Super Bowl favorites to a team in complete disarray. Phillip Rivers just lost to the Raiders, and even the great Tom Brady didn’t end his game so well last week. 

Yet, none of these quarterbacks shoulder the load of the blame like Romo does. People say that Roethlisberger and Rivers have horrible lines (as have the Cowboys in recent years). The Falcons have injuries and defensive problems (again, so do the Cowboys), and Brady has new receivers who don’t help him out.

Dez Bryant made a legion of route running errors in his first two seasons that led to Romo interceptions, yet the quarterback took the blame. Maybe the media is beginning to notice the double standard.

Meanwhile, the NFC East is a dumpster fire of bad quarterback play. Michael Vick started out with a bang but cooled off considerably and is now injured. Robert Griffin III looks so tentative in the pocket that he has to answer questions about whether he should be playing on his surgically repaired knee. Then there’s Eli, the interception king.

Even Peyton Manning, the all-time great quarterback who is having such a historic season that people can’t gush enough about him, has had his bad moments.

Tony Romo may not be the best quarterback in the league, but the undrafted free agent from Eastern Illinois is putting up numbers most teams would kill for right now. The Cowboys are lucky to have him. If only the rest of the team could keep up.