Cowboys: Tony Romo Deserves League MVP


As crazy as it sounds, it’s never been more apparent that Cowboys Tony Romo is NFL’s real MVP this season.

Tony Romo, out since the week two with a broken collarbone, has endured relentless scrutiny over the years. But perhaps it’s his absence this season that solidifies him as one of the NFL’s premier talents, and a player worthy of MVP consideration.

Forget for a moment that Tom Brady is piecing together one of the very best statistical seasons seen in recent memory. Forget that Aaron Rodgers, last week notwithstanding, continues to look like the best QB in the NFL.

Both Brady and Rodgers are obvious candidates for NFL MVP this season. Frankly, you’d be foolish to bet against either one, especially the former.

But think back to Peyton Manning’s “missing season” with the Colts. In 2010, Manning lead the Colts to a 10-6 record eventually losing to the New York Jets in the playoffs. Peyton would go on to miss the entire 2011 season with a neck injury and its subsequent surgeries.

In Manning’s absence, the Colts logged a league’s worst 2-14 record. By subtracting one player, the Colts went from a playoff team, to the worst team in the NFL. Peyton didn’t throw a single pass that season, yet it was clear he was the single most valuable player in the entire NFL.

Peyton Manning obviously did not win that NFL MVP award in 2011, but make no mistake, it was discussed in many circles.

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The same Peyton Manning analogy can be made for Tony Romo in 2015. The difference is, Romo actually has a chance to prove it.

Tony Romo led the Dallas Cowboys to an NFL’s best 12-4 record in 2014. The Cowboys entered the 2015 season regarded as a top-5 team with legitimate Super Bowl hopes.

The Cowboys were on pace to pick up right where they left off, until of course, Tony Romo went down to injury.

It hasn’t taken long to realize the Cowboys are a completely different team sans Romo. Since Romo fell, the Cowboys are winless, losing the last five consecutive games. Not only is the winless streak notable, but the quality of opponent is as well.

The Cowboys lost to Atlanta, New England, New Orleans, Seattle, and New York. With the exception of New England, these teams are far from powerhouses and should have been relatively easy wins if Romo had been around.

It’s easy to blame the inadequacies of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel but the reality is, these guys are pretty decent backups. Many contest, the NFL only has roughly 15 legitimate QBs in it. Most teams struggle to find a legit starter, let alone a legit backup.

The Cowboys have proven to be absolutely helpless without their Pro Bowl QB behind center. How many other teams would fall off a cliff the way the Dallas Cowboys have? How many top-end playoff teams would go winless if they lost a singular player?

The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers are both led by two of our generation’s best QBs but would they crater the same way the Cowboys have? Are their offenses so critically hinged on the abilities of one man?

We can’t truly know the answer to those questions unless these other players actually fall to injury but a quick look at their teams and their dominant performances this year, says teams like the Packers and Patriots would find a way to survive.

In other words, these are extremely strong and well-balanced teams. It would be difficult to see them go winless like the Cowboys. Despite equal expectations for all of these teams, more of the weight of success is resting on the shoulders of Tony Romo.

As many know, the NFL MVP award is more of an award honoring superior performance, not one actually honoring the “most valuable”. Think back to Aaron Rodgers’ MVP season from 2011 where he posted one of the best all-time regular season performances. Yes, the same season Peyton Manning’s Colts fell apart without him.

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In week 17 of that 2011 season, Packers backup QB, Matt Flynn, got the start instead of Rodgers. Flynn proceeded to complete 67.3% of his passes, throw six touchdowns, and rush for another TD. He essentially outperformed the would-be league MVP in his one start of the season.

We know now, that performance of Matt Flynn’s wasn’t indicative of Matt Flynn’s overall abilities. It was either a fluke or the system that made him thrive. Regardless, it was cited as proof to “Manning for MVPers” that the starting QB in Green Bay couldn’t be the “most valuable”, since the backup could do all the same things, with arguably better success.

Not since Peyton Manning’s lost 2011 season has it been so obvious how important one player can be for his team.

Currently the Cowboys’ stable of arms look to be considerably better than Flynn, unfortunately this Cowboys offense is far from a plug-and-play system. The system relies on a top-flight QB to run it and that’s exactly what Tony Romo is and exactly what Cassel and Weeden are not.

Knowing that the MVP is really more about performance than value, Romo will still have a chance to come back and prove his worth with tangible stats. Romo took to the practice field yesterday and is eligible to return to action as soon as November 22nd.

If Romo can turn the Cowboys around upon his return and prove he is the missing piece to the Cowboys’ playoff puzzle, then he should, without question, be involved in all MVP conversations.

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