I have long been a Romo-basher so even I was surprised that I ended up falling on this side of the debate but after taking a deeper look I realized that Troy Aikman may have been right. Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo is better than Aikman was.
Now I know Aikman made this comment way back in March of this year so this argument played out months ago but after watching Romo in the Cowboys Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants I begin to rethink the issue.
Aikman spoke in terms of talent which may be true. Romo is more mobile than Aikman and is better throwing on the run.
The perception is that Aikman is a more accurate quarterback than Romo but the numbers don’t play out that way.
Despite all of the talent Aikman had around him and the familiarity he had playing with guys like Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, and Daryl “Moose” Johnston for so long, Aikman still completed less than 60% of his throws in six of the 12 seasons he was in the league.
Romo has never had the chance to play with the kind of star power that played alongside Aikman with any kind of longevity but he has never failed to complete at least 61% of his passes in any of the six seasons he has been in the league. Romo’s regular season numbers are even better than the quarterback who won last season’s Super Bowl: Eli Manning.
But of course that is not what most people think of when the argument of who is better is brought up. In any sport, the true measure of a player’s greatness is measured by what they do in the post season.
Aikman has three rings. Manning has two. Romo of course has none and has gone 1-3 in the playoffs.
While it may be easy to judge Romo simply based on those results, I don’t think that takes into account the fact that football is a team game.
Aikman played behind one of the best offensive lines in the league during his day. He had the league’s all-time leading rusher to hand the ball off to every year except his rookie year in the league and it also doesn’t hurt that the Cowboys were a top-5 scoring defense all three years they made it to the Super Bowl.
Romo has played with numerous receivers during his career and a number of running backs as well. Only one time has a running back he played with topped the 1,000-yard mark and that was Julius Jones during Romo’s first year as a starter back in 2006.
We got to see on Wednesday though what Romo could do with a solid running game. Romo completed 75% of his passes against a Super Bowl caliber defense while leading his team to the win.
Now of course people will once again bring up the fact that this was just a regular season game but you have to play well in the regular season in order to even have a shot at the post season. And that is where the Cowboys are headed if running back DeMarco Murray can stay healthy this year.
Aikman didn’t do it alone and neither did Manning so Romo will need help too if he is going to have a shot at winning his first title. Murray showed last season that he can be the guy to help Romo get over the hump when he’s healthy.
The Cowboys were 5-0 last season when Murray received 20 or more carries in a game. This stat held true during the Cowboys Week 1 win over the Giants.
Murray carried the ball exactly 20 times against the Giants stingy defense to the tune of 131 yards. While he didn’t score any touchdowns, his strong running performance made it harder for the Giants’ pass rushers to just sit back and tee off on Romo.
And with a quarterback as accurate as Romo, that is dangerous. Now if only the Cowboys defense can just keep opponents under 20 points-per-game, then Romo may be able to prove Aikman right. Especially if he can lead the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl appearance since Aikman last did it back in 1995.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.
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