The most heavily criticized, overly scrutinized athlete in sports today is undoubtedly Tony Romo. Playing quarterback for America's Team sets an almost unreachable precedent, year in and year out the expectations are simple... Superbowl or bust!! Although Romo has yet to deliver a world championship the idea that he isn't an "elite" quarterback is absurd!
The recent shortcomings of the team around him make people forget he's statistically the best pass thrower in Cowboys history. Not only does he own the record books in Dallas he also has a career quarterback rating of 96.4 which is fourth all time! Higher than Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Dan Marino. QBR is an accumulation of all statistical categories, and a much better gauge of indiviual performance than team oriented achievements like Super Bowls.
Prior to the start of this season former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Joworski ranked every QB in the league from best to worst. A list where Tony Romo was #15. While such disrespect is expected from a former Philadelphia Eagle even someone with a lifetime of hatred towards America's Team should be able to suppress their emotions to make a more legitimate assessment. After one year of success Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, and Colin Kaepernick are better than Romo? Seriously? Jay Cutler? The same Jay Cutler who hasn't surpassed 4000 yards in a season since 2008? Matt Schaub ranked ninth!!?? The credibility of any list is completely lost when Matt Schuab is top ten, and Matt Ryan ranks higher than Drew Brees.
Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning aren't statistically better than Tony but are consistently ranked higher because of their championship rings. I'm not trying to negate the influence of championships on individual player evaluation but it simply isn't the end all be all. How can that much emphasis be placed on a single game? Jeff Hostetler, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, and Jim Plunkett don't exactly make up the Mt.Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks. They were all mediocre players who benefited from being on exceptional teams. Their Superbowl victories certainly don't make them better than all time greats like Marino, Moon, or Tarkenton who've never won the big game.
"Romophobics" like to mention his short comings in big games as the reason why he cant be considered elite. Last years week 17 loss to the Redskins with the division title and a postseason appearance on the line. The interception thrown while down three points with two minutes left against the undefeated Denver Broncos in week 4. The infamous botched hold on a field goal attempt to win a playoff game against the Seahawks. In each case Tony has been the fall guy for mistakes made elsewhere within the team. The Cowboys defense gave up 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns to rookie Alfred Morris in last years winner take all game for the division. The interception thrown against Denver came in a game where the defense gave up fifty-one points, seven more than the Broncos league leading average of 44 ppg. Its virtually impossible to win a game if your defense surrenders 200 rushing yards or 51 points no matter who your quarterback is! In the case of the botched hold Tony had been promoted to starting QB eight weeks earlier, meaning his status as the holder on field goals should have also changed.
Not only is Tony Romo one of the best to play the position both presently and of all time he's a prototype for the quarterback of the future. Lightning quick release, pinpoint accuracy, great mobility, and a sixth sense for avoiding pressure in the pocket. As defensive players continue to evolve becoming faster and more athletic the statuesque quarterbacks of yeateryear become obsolete. Being a "mobile" quarterback traditionally meant your legs had to make up for what your arm lacked. In this case his scrambling ability actually enhances the Cowboys passing game by extending plays leading to big gains down field.
Romo currently has America's Team atop the NFC East with a 4-3 record (3-0 in the division), but realistically no amount of regular season success will get him the respect he deserves. He simply needs to win the big one! At the end of his career he'll certainly have the stats to be inducted into the hall of fame, but a Superbowl title (preferrably accompanied by an MVP) will get him in on the first ballot!