Today’s post is from Thomas Holzerman, fan of the blog and writer of the fun and informative The Wrestling Blog. Holzerman loves wrestling, the Eagles, and unabashed hatred for certain quarterbacks. Watch as he proves it below!
What’s the difference between Tony Romo and Rex Grossman? Well, other than the fact that Romo is good more often than Grossman is? Whenever Grossman screws up, people rightfully call him out on his mistakes. Whenever Romo screws up, it’s shrugged off and swept under the rug. Don’t believe me? Just turn on ESPN. Romo has a bad game, and not a word is spoken about how bad he plays. When he plays in a mediocre fashion, but is bailed out by DeMarco Murray or DeMarcus Ware or someone else on the other team (who may or may not have a first name prefixed by “De”), he’s praised like he actually did something.
Okay, before I get any further, I’ll have to provide full disclosure here. I am a rabid Eagles fan, and there are few entities in this world I hate more than the Dallas Cowboys. Then again, I have no problem pointing out when someone on that team is a good player. Ware, for example, is a guy that I wish wasn’t on the Cowboys so I could root for him, because the guy is a beast. Miles Austin is another player that I wouldn’t be mad at torching my team if he didn’t have that dang-blasted star on the side of his helmet. Jason Witten, Murray, hell, even Dez Bryant guys that are only on my shit list because of the team they play on.
So maybe I’m not biased when I say that Tony Romo makes Jason Campbell look like Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers look like Joe Montana and Joe Montana look like Joe Montana from Tecmo Super Bowl played by an expert against the computer on preseason mode. Maybe in this case, I am the only sane one in the lot, while the rabble from the networks and major news sites are the ones out of whack. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
Either way, I look at Romo’s performance against the Redskins on Monday night in week 3, one where he missed a ton of throws, led his team to exactly zero touchdowns and threw one pick and thought that his defense and kicker bailed him out. I listen to the narrative though, and one might think that he was John Elway in an AFC Championship game against the Browns. More recently, I look at what he did against the Dolphins on Thanksgiving and see that he had a mediocre game, totally outplayed by Matt Moore. The stats bear that out, as Romo’s rating was 78.8 and he threw two picks to go with his two touchdowns and 226 yards. Moore’s rating, however, was 99.5, and he threw no interceptions to go with his touchdown and 288 yards.
I’m very much a believer that statistics can tell a story in sports analysis. Unlike in baseball though, stats rarely if ever tell the whole story in football. It’s the nature of the game. Many people will say that Romo’s performance transcended the numbers here. Okay, if I hadn’t watched the game, maybe I could buy that. However, that’s not the case. I saw a good bit of the game, and yeah, the stats told a good part of the story here, at least on Romo’s end.
The second touchdown drive by Dallas was telling in how much Romo was aided by good fortune. The first play of the drive, Romo was being chased for his life by Cameron Wake. The former CFL standout defensive end had Romo in the grasp by the ankles, bringing him down. Romo heaved a desperation ball up that he incredulously completed to Murray. Vontae Davis had a clear shot at the ball, but mistimed it by a second. Furthermore, Kevin Burnett read the ball the wrong way and ran in the other direction. Murray got there at the exact right time after playing the ball in exactly the right fashion. That completion and catch and run was all Murray, as Romo had no control over how far or where that ball was going to go. He had a similar play where he was hit as the ball was coming out, but it went right to Laurent Robinson in a stroke of luck.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the play right before the touchdown. Romo scrambled around and was just about to take a sack from Marvin Mitchell. As he was hit, he shot putted a ball that went knuckling on a high arc. Witten reacted to it, ran right to the ball, and made an amazing play to save a first down. On the next play, Romo finally made a good pass, sending a laser to Robinson in the end zone on a play that even I couldn’t hate on.
That being said, Romo threw five passes on that drive. Three of them were completed on sheer luck. However, listening to Phil Simms call the game, one might think that Romo had something more to do with the balls getting to their receivers than fortune, his receivers making plays or the defense being slightly out of position did. He praised Romo for making the throws when they counted as if he was throwing tight spirals in holes before feeling the pressure. On all three throws in question, he got hit by the defense. On that first play, he made a throw that every offensive coach would tell their quarterback NEVER to make. Simms said Romo was making escapes. I don’t know what he was smoking, but no, he didn’t make any escapes. Donovan McNabb eluding Cowboys pass rushers in that legendary scramble and toss to Freddie Mitchell on Monday night about five or so years back? That’s escaping. Michael Vick shedding defenders like he’s covered in grease? That’s escaping. Ben Roethlisberger shrugging off would-be sackers like they were mayflies before resetting his feet and throwing bullets? That’s escaping. Getting hit and tossing wounded ducks is not escaping.
Simms to me exemplifies the problem with Romo. It’s not that he’s schlepping through games and nominally helping the Cowboys win. Well, it is, but the thing that makes it even more infuriating is that Simms is part of a HUGE echo chamber of cognitive dissonance as to the glaring flaws of this guy. It’s the same principle that I don’t want to eat skirt steak and have people insist to me that it’s filet mignon. Tony Romo is skirt steak. Simms, Skip Bayless, and even to a point Dan Levy (and I like Dan, I really do) want to tell me that he’s filet mignon.
Of course, when Romo invariably fails sometime in December and/or January, it eases my black, bitter heart, but at the same time, I guess I just don’t like hearing people spread lies so blatantly. Tony Romo isn’t a legendarily terrible quarterback, but to pretend that he’s anything more than a rich man’s Rex Grossman is bad journalism. Maybe it just annoys me more because it’s a member of the evil, dirty, squalid, fetid Cowboys being pumped up, but then again, why should we stand for mediocrity and misplaced credit being given where it doesn’t deserve?