Jamie Dukes: Using Deception to Make Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo Look Worse than He is


Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been taking criticism since he became the starter in game 7 of the 2006 season. Fair or not, that is part of life in the NFL.  Despite the omnipresent criticism, Jerry Jones has always maintained that Tony Romo will be the starting Quarterback for the foreseeable future, and that is a plus. Romo has improved every year as a starter; there is no reason to think next year will be any different. Last year was a good indication of his maturity and growing leadership role. When many QB’s would have folded, Romo played with the broken ribs and punctured lung; he played through the pain and injury to have his best year ever.

People still want to hang the season on Romo. In reality, everyone in the organization deserves some responsibility for the 20111 season, including the front office, the coaches, the scouting department, and the players.

With all due respect to others, it is time to quit bashing Tony Romo. He has had to endure more unjustified criticism than any starting quarterback in the NFL, and he continues to be the most unfairly maligned QB in the NFL.

Romo’s detractors seem to forget that football is a team sport, and Romo plays with the supporting cast that Jerry Jones gives him. The offensive line has been neglected for years, and it showed frequently last season when Romo was running for his life. Romo has made mistakes, but his mistakes are not the sole cause of the troubles of the Dallas Cowboys

No one would object to reasonable criticism of any player, but some of the national media go overboard in their desire to denigrate Romo.  There was a particularly objectionable critique of Romo recently on the NFL Network.

This may shock you: someone at the NFL Network went out of their way to concoct a stat that would distort reality and make Tony Romo look much worse than he actually is.

Jamie Dukes said, “Tony Romo’s career passer rating in the regular season is 95.5, which ranks him second all time, just ahead of Tom Brady (95.2) and Peyton Manning (94.9). Even if you adjust for the era and length of his career, it is still an impressive number.” Dukes then argued that Romo’s career QB rating in the post-season was an unimpressive 80.8, and authoritatively asserted that Romo’s 80.8 in the playoffs ranked him 104th all-time.

This statistic – that Romo is 4th in the regular season, but 104th in the playoffs – was held out as proof that Romo is terrible in the post-season, he can’t handle the pressure etc.

Sounds kinda convincing doesn’t it?

The problem is that they used two different methods for ranking for the QB’s.  They used one to generate the second place ranking for Romo, but a completely different method to determine that he was 104th in the playoffs.  For a full explanation of the NFL Network’s chicanery, click here.

Essentially what they did was used the traditional QB ranking system to say that Romo is second in the regular season, but when they calculated the post-season rankings, they included every player that has ever thrown a single pass in the playoffs.  The aforementioned article explained:

"This means ranking quarterbacks with a miniscule number of attempts like Billy Volek, Paul Justin, Doug Johnson, Clint Longley and Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett ahead of Romo. It also means 35 different running backs and receivers that attempted only 1-3 passes total are ranked ahead of Romo. I did not know Bronko Nagurski, Walter Payton, Terrell Owens and Kellen Winslow were more efficient playoff passers than Romo. Thanks, NFL Network."

The guys at NFL Network completely ignored the traditional rule that a QB must have at least 150 attempts in the playoffs to even have a “career ranking”.  But they followed the rule of a QB needing 1500 attempts in the regular season to qualify for a “career ranking”. 

The fact that the NFL network and Jamie Dukes would engage in this kind of deception just to make Romo bad is despicable.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Dukes was advised, on Twitter, of the allegations made against him in this article.  He was given the opportunity to respond, but he did not.)

The good news for Cowboy fans is that if even the renowned analsysts at the NFL Network need to manipulate stats to make an argument that Romo is ineffective in the playoffs, it suggests that there is no reasonable or objective evidence to support the claim.

That doesn’t seem to matter to some bloggers, writers and fans: the annual discussion about whether Romo will lose his job if they fail to make the Super Bowl  is getting old.   “Is it do or die for Tony Romo?”  No, of course not; he is one of the better QB’s in the league.

When Tony Romo is condemned for not having won a Super Bowl, it is hard not to remember that it took Peyton Manning 9 years to lead the Colts to a Super Bowl, and many sports writers believe that Peyton Manning is the best QB to ever play the game. It took John Elway 15 years to win his first Super Bowl.

Jerry Jones has made it perfectly clear: TONY ROMO is the Dallas Cowboys QB, now and into the future. Barring injury, Romo will be the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys, and rightfully so. Romo has earned the right to be the starter.

Romo has put up numbers that have never been seen before in Dallas. Not even from Troy Aikman.    Roll the years back and put Tony Romo in Aikman’s position; it seems probable that Romo would be wearing 3 rings.   What Aikman had that Romo does not, is the mammoth OL that kept Aikman upright and in the pocket for the majority of his career.

People also seem to forget that there are very few QB’s in the league that have the mobility necessary to survive in the Cowboys current offense. Could you imagine Troy Aikman thriving if he had to face the pressure that Romo dealt with last year? It would be ugly.

The Cowboys are lucky to have Tony Romo, and its disappointing that more people won’t acknowledge that fact.

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