Last week, Ryan Bradley jinxed the Eagles. In Week 15, he wonders why Tony Romo has to share so much of the blame for the Cowboys’ struggles when his defense might just be the worst in franchise history.
It appears that last weekend I jinxed the Eagles by writing about their success. Ironically enough I’d held off writing about the Eagles until I felt they were in a place where I wasn’t jumping the gun. A blowout at the hands of the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings later and I can’t help wondering who else I can jinx. And is there such a thing as a reverse jinx?
I’ve written about the Cowboys and Tony Romo a little bit this season, but the situation in Dallas continues to frustrate me. And not just because I’m a Cowboys fan. Beyond my fandom, I am a proponent of blame being directed at the right people and there may be no one athlete who gets more undeserved blame than Tony Romo. The man has become a veritable pariah.
So, let’s compare. Yesterday ESPN hosted a survey on their website asking what the Cowboys should do with Romo. Ditch him and start over, keep him but take away some of his offensive control, or let things stand. An overwhelming number of people voted that the Cowboys should get rid of Romo and start over.
I haven’t seen any such surveys about Eli Manning, who has thrown 25 interceptions this year to just 16 touchdowns. By comparison Romo has thrown 29 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. For further perspective, that is more touchdown passes than all but two other quarterbacks this season, including Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Joe Flacco to name a few. His interceptions are fewer than such quarterbacks as Flacco, Brady, and Drew Brees.
Not to beat a dead horse, but Romo’s quarterback rating is 8th in the NFL this season. Eli Manning’s is 33rd among 35 qualifying quarterbacks. Yet, there has been no great outcry for Manning’s job. ESPN hasn’t devoted whole segments to criticizing Eli and his potentially historical season of crappiness.
The best thing about Romo though isn’t his stats, it’s his personality and demeanor. He is always the first guy to step up and accept blame even when he is not the one to blame. Think about this, the 2013 Cowboys have the worst defense of any Cowboys team ever.
Let that stew for a second, then remember Romo doesn’t play defense. But despite Romo’s classiness and willingness to be the team’s scapegoat, Jason Garrett got away with his latest atrocity against his own team with only passing mention by pundits or reporters. In his press conference Garrett placed the blame on his quarterback. It’s one thing for a guy to accept blame, it’s another for it to be assigned to him by his head coach, who, by the way, accepted none of the responsibility.
Frankly the Cowboys are lucky to have Romo. They are lucky he signed an extension and they are lucky he hasn’t demanded a trade. I wouldn’t blame him a bit for wanting out of Dallas, especially the way his head coach shifts blame constantly and the way Jerry Jones seems to think he can build a winning team with an offensive line that can only hold up for two quarters and a defense that seems to play as if they are as old as their Defensive Coordinator, Grandfather Time Kiffen.
People aren’t going to stop blaming Romo for the Cowboys’ woes and he accepts that. People will always say he’s a choke artist (despite leading more 4th quarter comebacks than any other active quarterback). Maybe it’s because he’s the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, maybe it’s because people love to hate Romo the way I love to hate Eli Manning. Whatever it is, I believe if someone is going to be blamed for something it ought to be something for which they deserve the blame.
Eli Manning certainly deserves a lot of blame this year, which makes it easier for me to harp on him. If Romo deserves blame for anything it’s for being too nice, it seems, as he lets people flog him publicly from inside and outside his team, without defending himself.
One day, though, history will defend him. Whether he wins a Super Bowl or not. Look at Marino. Who, by the way, Romo’s on track to compare nicely to statistically if his offensive line doesn’t let his career get ended prematurely. You can compare them yourself here and here.
Photo: AP/Ross D. Franklin