Tony Romo, America’s Whipping Boy, on this week’s Sports Illustrated Cover

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 10.24.43 AM(NEW YORK – November 26, 2013) – In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (12/2/13)—on newsstands NOW— senior writer S.L. Price poses this question: Why does America hate Tony Romo? Is it because he’s a choker? (Statistically, he’s not.) Because he lacks Peyton’s public passion? (Eye roll.) Because he doesn’t have rings? (Is that really his fault?) The Cowboys’ quarterback has stepped from obscurity to the brightest spotlight—and he can make you think twice about what you should expect from the position. Writes Price, “There comes a point in any long discussion with Tony Romo when he’ll let slip the word greatness. Be ready. It’ll catch you flat-footed, at least the first time, because he’s supposed to be about many things—sweet and telegenic blondes, maddening interceptions, games horribly lost and stunningly won—but not that. That’s bigger game than you’d expect from an undrafted free agent who by all rights should be thrilled just to be here—and who often appears to be exactly that. Greatness seems more the purview of others, madly gesticulating quarterbacks, brain surgeons and actors who decide to take on Hamlet. Tony Romo, King of Cabo, is not the type to take on Hamlet, is he?” (Page 34)

When one is asked to name the top NFL quarterbacks to play in the league over the last decade only two names come to mind, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Romo, who many consider to be “Mr. Interception” probably wouldn’t even round out the top five. Yet Romo, one of only two undrafted free agents currently starting at quarterback, has put up career numbers that have Canton taking notice. Through his first 100 starts, Dallas’s leading Cowboy completed 2,262-of-3,478 passes for 27,485 yards and 189 touchdowns. Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman are the only quarterback in Cowboys franchise history with more starts than Romo. Among quarterbacks who started their career in the Super Bowl era, Romo ranks first in completions and yards, third in touchdowns and fourth in attempts. Writes Price, “On paper, Romo ranks among the finest. A supposed choker, he has the best fourth-quarter passer rating in the regular season (102.5) of any QB, ever, and his 11 game-winning drives since 2011—the latest a 14-play march on the road, with Romo connecting on six of nine attempts for 67 yards, in the final 4:45 to set up the winning field goal against the Giants on Sunday—lead the league. This season, the 6’2”, 236-pound Romo has thrown just seven interceptions while being lodged, as usual, among the NFL leaders in completion percentage (64.2, eighth), TDs (23, fourth) and passer rating (97.2, seventh).”

(Page 36)

In Week 5, Romo’s performance was his career in miniature. Romo set a Cowboys record with 506 yards and threw five touchdown passes on just 36 attempts against the Broncos, but his interception with just under two minutes left led to a 51-48 loss and was all anyone wanted to remember. Staubach, who is in the Hall of Fame and who won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, was one of Romo’s biggest supporters after the game. “The guy puts 48 points on the board, and half the city is saying he lost the game,” says Staubach. “I never, ever would’ve won a game where the other team scored 51 points. That, to me, is proof that [people] are not going to get over [his trip to] Cabo or a mistake here or there. It’s always Tony—he’s the lightning rod. The offensive line last year was trying to find itself; pressure was up the middle; the guy had to scramble and do everything to make plays. If Peyton Manning was on that team, I don’t know what he would’ve done.” (Page 37)

****Click here to download a high-res version of this week’s cover

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers