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On Tony Romo (Post 2012 NFC Championship Game Loss to Redskins)

December 31, 2012

628x471_RomoOn Tony Romo, I’ve always been a big fan and believer that he is a top QB in the NFL.  That hasn’t changed tonight.  That said…he choked tonight, solidifying his reputation as a non-clutch QB in the big, make-or-break moments of a football season.  It marks the first time in my book that he really choked in a big spot since the Seattle fumble in his first year as a starter (2006).  True, he hasn’t won in many big games, but most of those have other reasons than QB play to blame.  Tonight, the Dallas Cowboys short-handed defense had the Washington Redskins within striking distance, down only 21-18 with 3+ minutes left to play, and the ball back to the Cowboys Offense in decent field position (30 yard line).  There is nothing more that a confident Offense and clutch Quarterback can ask for.  This was a defining moment for Romo, a chance to rewrite his legacy.  He failed, instead reinforcing his reputation as a choker.  Romo threw a terrible pass under pressure for his third Interception of the night – all of which came on questionable throws under defensive blitz pressure.  The seemingly simple task of marching forth – moving your team up the field – and keeping your team in the game, gets significantly harder when the pressure is on.  Tonight, Romo missed his chance.

Romo was just not clutch tonight.  He was good enough to get 2 TDs and keep the game close; but when the chips were down, and he had a chance for a defining moment, he failed and bears (in my view) at least 80% responsibility for this loss – poor play-calling and lack of team support accounts for the other 20%.  It’s the first time since that Seattle FG kick fumble (in 2006) that we can say that.  Tough night.

I think Tony Romo is a great quarterback – not just good, but great.  I think that he has many good years of QB play left in him, at least four as a top NFL QB.  I believe that he will grow as a player, leader and human being as as result of this painful loss tonight.  He knows very well that until he shows that he can win BIG GAMES (Dec and Jan games), CONSISTENTLY, he won’t be elite.  So we must move on to another year, and yes, as Cowboys Owner, President and GM (does someone need more titles to feel good about himself?) Jerry Jones said (one of the few wise things), “the window continues to close” on this core group of Cowboys players.  Tony Romo leads that pack, and needs to do some more soul searching this off-season, regroup and get himself in position to once again – either rewrite his legacy or reinforce the image, unfairly judgmental as it may seem, that will hang over his head for the next 10 months – “Tony Romo, the big game choke artist.”

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