Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo Sets Tone For Elite QB Play

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The Current Top 3 QB’s in the NFL.

1. Tony Romo: Tony has completed 21 of 32 passes (65.6%) for 303 yards,(9.5 yard average) for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has been sacked once.  His passer rating is 117.0 so far this season.

Romo’s Career Totals: In 77 career regular season starts, he has completed 1,672 of 2,592 passes (64.5%) for 20,834 yards (8.0 yard average), amassed 149 touchdowns to only 72 interceptions, and taken 142 sacks (1.8 sack per game average), for a career passer rating of 96.9  (2nd all time.)

These totals are good enough to have him currently ranked 2nd all time for career passer rating. Which in laymens’  terms, means  he is the second most efficient quarterback of all time. As an individual, his statistical records show that he is one of the most gifted of the group, therefore elite.

2. Matt Ryan: Ryan has always been one of those ‘under the radar’ type of quarterbacks. You don’t really hear his name much in the media. If he played for the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers, you would hear about Matt Ryan much more. So far this season, he has completed 45 of 60 passes (75%) for 549 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and took 2 sacks for a passer rating of 112.4.

Ryan’s Career Totals: In 62 career starts, he has completed 1,232 of 2022 passes (60.9%) for 14,238 yards (7.o yard average) for 95 TD’s, 46 interceptions, and took 85 sacks for a career passer rating of 88.4.

3. Drew Brees: There isn’t an NFL fan who hasn’t heard the name Drew Brees at least 100 times. Anyone that loves the game of football has to admire his skill as an NFL quarterback. He is one of the aforementioned players who is commonly linked to the word “elite”. But given that ‘elite‘ is based on individual performance in comparison to one’s peers, not Super Bowls, it is appropriate to ask:

What would Drew Brees do with the same supporting cast that Tony Romo has?

When you look at his numbers, it’s clear that Brees is  truly a gifted QB. However, it may surprise you to find that Tony Romo has been more consistent and efficient over the long haul, despite not having the benefit of the excellent offensive line that Brees enjoys in New Orleans. Currently this preseason, Brees has completed 32 of 47 passes (68.1%) for 357 yards (7.6 yards per attempt), for 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and has taken 1 sack for a passer rating of 111.8.

Brees’ Career Totals: In 168 career starts, Brees has completed 3,613 of 5,479 passes ( 65.9%) for 40,742 yards (7.4 yards per attempt) 281 touchdowns, 146 interceptions, and taken 208 sacks for a career passer rating of 94.0  (7th all time.)

Instead of looking at the 3 QB’s who are at the bottom of the league, I will examine 3 QB’s who are associated with that “elite” status.

4. Peyton Manning: After the first preseason game, Manning had one of the the worst ratings in the NFL, but it was natural for him to need some time to knock the rust off. As anticipated, his rating has come up since the 1st game, but not anywhere near what should be considered “elite“.  His completion percentage is solid, but his interception to TD ratio drastically reduces his rating. Currently this preseason, he has completed 30 of 42 passes (71.4%) for 343 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He hasn’t been sacked, and he has a passer rating of 81.7.

Manning’s Career TotalsIn 208 career starts, he has completed 4,682 of 7,210 passes (64.9%) for 54,828 yards (7.6 average), 399 TD’s, 198 interceptions, and taken 231 sacks for a career passer rating of (94.9  6th all time.) Despite 131 more starts than Tony Romo, Manning has only won 1 Super Bowl If given the right supporting cast, Tony is more than capable of winning one.

5. Tom Brady: Brady is my favorite kind of football player. He wasn’t the over hyped media poster boy who was the 1st over all pick in the draft. In fact, Brady fell all the way to the 6th round. Brady provides an interesting comparison for Tony Romo because the same scouts and experts overlooked them both in the draft. As a result, both QB’s had to fight and claw their way up the ranks and earn their starting spots. They have another thing in common too: they both sat behind Pro Bowl, future Hall Of Fame quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. Yes, by the time Drew got to Dallas he was past his prime, but the knowledge and experience he possessed, proved to be invaluable to both Tom and Tony. He was a great mentor for both of them.

In spite of the fact that Tom Brady has appeared in 5 Super Bowls and has 3 rings to his credit, you still have to ask the same question as with Drew Brees:

What would Tom Brady do with the same supporting cast that Tony Romo has?

In light of that question, watch and see what happens to Tom Brady this year as the play of his offensive line declines from what he has enjoyed in previous seasons. I have been saying it for years:

If Tom Brady didn’t have such great protection, being as immobile as he is, he would never be nearly as successful.

Currently this season, Brady has completed 17/27 passes (63%) for 157 yards (5.8 average, obviously a lot of check downs),1 touchdown, 1 interception, 2 fumbles, and he has taken 3 sacks for a passer rating of 75.7. Assuming that Brady’s personal skills as a QB have not declined, his pedestrian numbers this season are probably a result of the poor play by his offensive line. Being exposed to the same type of situation (inconsistent and poor play from the o-line) that Tony Romo has dealt with his entire career in Dallas, has turned the great Tom Brady in to an average quarterback. Don’t forget that in the previous article, he netted a zero passer rating.

Brady’s Career totals: In 159 career starts, he completed 3,397 of 5,321 passes (63.8%) for 39,979 yards (7.5 average), 300 touchdowns, 115 interceptions, and he has taken 276 sacks for a career passer rating of 96.4  (4th all time.)

6. Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers is everyone’s poster boy when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. He is the only one who is currently ahead of Tony Romo on the all-time list. During training camp this year, I spoke to my friend Bryan Broaddus, who is a former scout for the Green Bay Packers. Through the course of the conversation, he mentioned that he had spoken to an old friend (who is still on the Packers staff) and that he had been told they were having problems with the offensive line.  (Back to what I said about supporting cast.)

Now that the Packers have played some games, you can see that due to the poor offensive line play and their lack of an effective running game, Rodgers is also looking pretty average. Once again, this is the exact same scenario that Romo has always had in Dallas.

Currently for this season, Rogers  has completed 32 of 63 passes (50.8%) for 261 yards (5.6 average, once again obviously a lot of check downs), 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble. He has taken 5 sacks for a passer rating of 53.8.  Far from “elite” to say the least. The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how talented a quarterback he is, all QB’s need protection and a running game.

Rodger’s Career totals: In 62 career starts, he has completed 1,381 of 2,113 passes (65.4%) for 17,366 yards (8.2 average), for 132 touchdowns, 38 interceptions, and he has taken 160 sacks for a career passer rating of 104.1  (1st all time.)


You can listen to the media all you want, but Tony Romo has proven that he can play at an “elite” level as an individual QB, even without the advantages (formidable running game and/or excellent offensive lines) that most of the other elite QB’s enjoy. The facts speak for themselves, if anyone on this list fits the criteria to be elite, it is Tony Romo. The only thing Romo can’t do (without a better supporting cast), is get to the Super Bowl!

The second part of this article will be posted later today around noon, it will provide a detailed play-by-play analysis of Tony Romo’s “elite” performance against the St. Louis Rams.You can see part 2 here.

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