I saw a rather unfortunate statistic about Tony Romo on ESPN. He is the only player in NFL history to have played two Monday Night Football games in which he threw five interceptions.
At first, one might cite Romo’s career statistics to defend him. Through seven seasons – minus the first four games of this year – Romo owns a career quarterback rating of 96.9, good for second all time in the NFL. He has 154 touchdowns compared to 80 interceptions, and a career completion percentage near 65 percent.
However, the MNF statistic depicts the kind of quarterback Romo really is. He is great in the regular season and he will collect statistics. He will manage games and win a few with his arm here and there.
But when all is said and done, when you need a clutch win to secure a playoff berth, or the game winning touchdown in the conference championship, Romo is not a quarterback you would want in the pocket.
Monday’s game may have only been a glimpse into the type of quarterback that Romo is, but it epitomizes the problems with Romo’s game. For most of the matchup, the Dallas Cowboys were competitive enough to keep the score close. Then, instead of getting on a roll with short consistent passes, he threw careless bombs for interception after interception.
The Bears defense is good, but no one should be throwing five interceptions, especially not a quarterback as good as Romo’s statistics say he is.
Time after time Romo comes up just a little short. No one has forgotten his botched snap against the Seahawks in the winter of 2007. If that play does not sum up Romo’s shortcomings, nothing else will.
His playoff numbers in general go down all across the board, although he has not even had a chance to improve them since the Cowboys have missed the playoffs in the past last two seasons.
In the postseason, he has thrown four touchdowns to two interceptions, but has a quarterback rating of just 81 and has not completed 60 percent of his passes. The most troubling statistic though is his fumbles. Through four career playoff games, he has fumbled the ball five times.
Great quarterbacks improve their postseason play. Romo gets worse as the stakes get higher. So, why in the world is he still the starting quarterback for the Cowboys?
For one thing, he sells tickets. For another, he wins a lot of regular season games. It has not translated to the postseason the last two years, or any real success when they do make it, but it puts butts in the seats and allows Jerry Jones to dream up an even bigger Jumbotron.
If the Cowboys ever want to replicate their past success, they will need to make improvements across the board. However, until they find a quarterback who performs in the clutch, and does not shy away from the spotlight, nothing else will matter.
David Israel is a senior sports communication major from Skokie. He is the Scout sports reporter.
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