Welcome to America where winning is everything, unless you’re Tony Romo

There’s been an inordinate amount of talk lately about Tony Romo.  After fourteen seasons in the NFL, the veteran Cowboy quarterback has finally decided to hang up his cleats.  Not by his choosing, of course.  The Cowboys didn’t want to pay him the $15+ million he was owed, nor did any other team at that asking price.  In a league full of teams desperate for quarterbacks, the aging, often brittle Tony Romo could not find a home.

So off to the CBS broadcasting booth he goes.

We almost threw a parade for him on his way out the door… and I get that, sort of.  He is the Cowboys’ leader in a number of key statistics: passing yardage, touchdowns, etc.  He ranks a Tebow-like high on the cult of personality scale and for years played one of the most high-profile positions in all of professional sports: quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

But he never won a Super Bowl.  He never made it to a championship game.  In fact, the most consistent criticism of Romo was that he only won two playoff games over his entire career.  Romo may have eclipsed Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach on the Cowboys’ stat sheet but he doesn’t lead them in the hardware category.  Like it or not, that’s how we judge our athletes.

Winning is everything.  Don’t do that and we don’t have time for you.

In basketball, you can’t mention the names Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing or Allen Iverson without saying they never won the big one.  The same goes with the NFL and Dan Marino or baseball with Ted Williams or Ernie Banks.  You can’t tell someone Jim Kelly was one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation without them replying that his Bills lost four straight Super Bowls.  Karl Malone is the NBA’s second leading scorer of all-time (more than Jordan) but no conversation of his legacy is complete without mentioning he lost to Michael twice in the Finals.

That’s not to say their contributions to their respective sports weren’t noteworthy.  These (Romo excluded) are some of the best players to ever play the game.  But that’s not good enough for the fickle fan.  We don’t measure college coaches based on how many kids they graduate but rather by how many banners they hang.  Priorities.

On the flipside, we consider winners like Tom Brady and Michael Jordan the greatest ever, even though that argument is not only pointless, it’s virtually unproveable.  There is no magic barometer to measure all this which is why we break it down to the greatest common denominator:  championships.

This might be unfair.  This might be unjust.  But that’s just the way it is and some things will never change.  No participation trophies for all will make us forget that Reggie Miller never won a ring.

That brings us back to Mr. Romo.  I guess I just can’t understand America’s love affair with CBS’s newest analyst.  Is it because he’s white?  Is it because he’s good-looking?  Was it because he played with the same high-profile team for so long?  Donovan McNabb had Romo-like numbers (far better in the post-season) and he didn’t receive nearly the adoration.  Philly couldn’t wait to run him out of town.

Most Cowboys fans revere Romo even more than they do Troy Aikman which I find inexplicable.  Perhaps not as nimble, (Aikman threw for fewer career touchdowns and more picks) the man got the job done.  He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and a Super Bowl MVP.  Aikman clearly had the better teams but it’s not like Romo’s Cowboys were void of talent.

Still, Romo is commonly considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation. There are currently eight active quarterbacks with more passing yards than Romo.  Three of those (Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan) haven’t won a Super Bowl and don’t get nearly the love Romo does, or at least did.  All the others (Brees, Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger and Rodgers) have hoisted an Lombadri Trophy. All things considered, that puts Romo about the eighth or ninth best quarterback in the league over the era that he played.

In other words, Romo is in the bottom ten of the top ten quarterbacks he played against.

Maybe I missed something.  Maybe I wasn’t playing close enough attention.  Maybe I’ve fallen victim to the “You have to win to be great” sentiment.  The guy was a pretty good quarterback.   But great?  In his final days, he couldn’t even beat out a rookie for his starting spot.  I don’t mean to go all Michael Rappaport on you but um, why exactly all the fuss?

I’m okay with celebrating Romo’s efforts on the football field.  He led the Cowboys to a number of successful seasons.  Ultimately, he’ll be invited to their Ring of Honor for his years of service.  But all-time Hall of Fame great?  I’m not so sure he’d get my vote.

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t get one.


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12 Replies to “Welcome to America where winning is everything, unless you’re Tony Romo”

  1. Romo was a good QB.

    Good, not great.

    He maybe gets into the WAG Hall of Fame for bagging Jessica Simpson and Carrie Underwood, but that’s it IMO.

    …Then again, Tracy McGrady just got into the NBA HOF, so I think the bar has lowered. I guess we’ll see.

  2. T-Mac was pretty solid back in the day, Bleed.

    In fact, I’d dare to say he was better at basketball than Romo ever was at football.

    He damn carried those Magic teams for quite some time. And those rivalries with Kobe were pretty epic.

  3. Not saying T-Mac didn’t have his time…He was a great scorer…

    For less than a decade.

    But in that time won two scoring titles and put on a hell of a show…One of those streaky scorers that when he got hot, watch out….I’m sure his YouTube highlight reel would rival pretty much anyones…Matter of fact I’m going there right after this to see…
    …I’m just not quite sure he’s a Hall of Famer based on what he accomplished in the L. Maybe the highlights will refresh my memory, but right now I’m on the fence…I mean, congrats to him on being elected, but he’s borderline IMO

  4. He’s made his millions and will continue to do so in broadcasting…nothing to see here except Collinsworth going off on CBS somewhere down the line.

  5. Bleed…

    Yea, man, I was living in Orlando while he was there tearing up the league so I got to see much of that stuff first hand. He was a top five player in the league for some time so I’m okay with him getting in

    Remember, this was a kid from small town Florida who no one ever thought would amount to much, never mind a Hall of Famer.

    Funny story about that night against San Antonio. I was watching that game live. Figured it was over and went out to take out the trash. I come back in to find out T-Mac had brought his team back from the deficit. Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased.

    Had close-captioned on at the bar tonight for the Memphis game. Someone said Vince Carter was a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Famer. Do you agree with that?

  6. One thing’s for certain, Moose.

    The guy’s a draw.

    I just wonder if he had played in New York or Philly and had the same career, whether those fans would be as forgiving.

  7. Aww…
    Poor baby missed it on tv……….Pffft.
    I can top that….I left the Dodger game where they hit 4 HR’s and Nomar hit the walk off in the 11th. Been kicking myself in the ass about it ever since….I mean, it’s only the greatest comeback EVER, right?

    Half Man-Half Amazing a HOFer?
    I think Carter’s impact on the league just in terms of jaw dropping dunks can’t be understated. He’s probably the best dunker of all time. That dunk contest when he hung by his elbow was the greatest display of slam dunking ability and creativity I’ve ever seen.

    Him jumping over the 7 foot dude in the Olympics was absolutely insane.

    He went from a 20+ point per game franchise focal point to valuable veteran bench journeyman. I think his ability to re-invent himself and his longevity, which helps his overall career numbers once he hangs em up gets him in. I mean, if T-Mac’s a HOFer, how can his big cousin not be?

    I wouldn’t say a “no-brainer”, but taking all that into account, I think he gets in.

  8. Pingback: Twitter’s Romo Retirement Roast | Sports Chump

  9. Yea, Bleed, we both know that getting into the “Basketball” (not NBA, which one would assume would be a tad more difficult) Hall of Fame isn’t all that tough a task. In fact, you and I should be up for eligibility next year.

    That being said, with the relative simplicity of getting in, I’m with you. I put VC in just for his Olympian dunk over one Frederic Weis, the answer to one of the greatest trivia questions ever?

    Not sure the last time you’ve seen that dunk (it should be viewed at least weekly) but the next time you do, check out Kevin Garnett’s reaction.

    And Vince shaking the leg?

    Hold on, let me find the link for good measure, he he.


    Nah, fuck it. Vince belongs!

  10. I recall saying on this site recently I feel I tend to give Tony more respect than the average fan. That being said it was for his guts and his ability to play at a high level on occasion…not for being one of the all-time greats. All-time Cowboy…yes. All-time great…no way. Not even close. And while I’m not a fan of Phil Simms…kicking him to the studio for someone who didn’t pay their dues even by doing a network’s game airing in one market? Ridiculous. Fans aren’t going to turn off CBS games because Simms isn’t on or Romo is, but I think the network miscalculated how this is going to go because in the age of “social” media Tony is going to be battered about more than when he played. I don’t even think Romo knows what he signed up for. It looks easy watching others do it but when it is your turn to open your mouth across America for three plus hours…not so much. Then again, before he does open his mouth on Day One I probably would rate him ahead of about a dozen other guys who already have shown their “talent.”

  11. Yea, Burnsy, CBS sure was quick to jump all over Romo.

    What was he, retired for two days or less when the network announced he was part of their team?

    Maybe Jerry Jones greased the network to get him off his hands, he he.

    Kinda like selling a used car to someone.

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