Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tony Romo

Dolphins' Pro Bowl DE Jason Taylor:

"[Romo] moves very well and is very quick. He's got great pocket presence and he made plays today and I didn't. We saw it on film that he's a good quarterback who makes plays and seems out of control at times but he makes it work and they work around him that way. He's a very, very good quarterback."

This is reassuring to read. If Romo reduces his fumbles, I believe he will have an outstanding career.

Romo's always going to throw some crazy, Favresque interceptions. I'm no longer worried those plays will derail his career. Romo's always going to have plays where he looks like a flag-football athlete posing as an NFL athlete. I'm no longer worried about his physical capabilities.

Romo's intangibles - so far - look off-the-charts spectacular. When he fails, Romo has the guts to resume trying to stick passes into necessary places. This is the type of QB mentality most players yearn to play with. Romo can shrug the weight of failure off of his shoulders. His mental toughness is in the tradition of Roger Staubach; Joe Montana; Doug Flutie; John Elway; Brett Favre. Romo is a leader. If he can just control that fumbling thing, he could be - as Jason Taylor said "a very, very good quarterback." If he can just control that fumbling thing, Romo can be championship quality.

The Dallas Cowboys have had tremendous QBs during their franchise history.

The top tier (chronologically):
Don Meredith
Roger Staubach
Troy Aikman

The second tier (good, winning talent):
Eddie Lebaron
Craig Morton
Danny White

If Romo can control his fumbling, he could threaten the first tier. If he's not first tier talent, yet does win a Super Bowl, Romo could create a second tier all for himself. He could push Lebaron, Morton, and White into a third tier.

Its often forgotten that Don Meredith terrorized the league for several seasons in which the Cowboys were a high-scoring, bomb-throwing aerial circus. I'm trying to think of a more modern comparison for Meredith... I think, maybe, Dan Marino or Peyton Manning. Going back further, maybe Dan Fouts. For five seasons or so, Meredith dominated. The only reason he's not in the HOF is he retired so early - victim of multiple injuries.

What other franchises have had three dominant QBs?

John Brodie, Joe Montana, Steve Young

John Unitas, Bert Jones, Peyton Manning

and.... that's it. Several teams have had two great QBs, but not three.

Romo has crazy good intangibles. After 13 career starts, here's my crazy prediction:
if the Cowboys get him a young, talented receiver: Romo could be a Bobby Layne/Sonny Jurgenson level of talent and leadership ability - only with scrambling feet, and without the alcoholism. Romo could be a Joe Theisman type player - only with brains and leadership ability, and without the irritating narcissism.

Note: Romo is half Mexican. Mexicans love American football. The Cowboys are "Mexico's team". This is one of the most fortuitous marketing opportunities of all time. Romo could become a huge, huge persona. Luckily, his head is squarely affixed to his shoulders. He can handle big hype.

Note II: The "Curse of Bobby Layne" is one season (2007) from coming to an end.


In 1958, the Lions traded Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Layne responded to the trade by saying that the Lions would "not win for 50 years". Since Layne left Detroit, the Lions have not won a championship and have suffered through many setbacks on and off the field.

Before he was traded, Bobby Layne and high school teammate Doak Walker led the Detroit Lions to three NFL Championships.

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