by Fidel Martinez
Full disclosure: I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan and have been ever since I can remember liking sports. So you can take what I’m about to say with that grain of salt, or you can put my homerism behind and read this with an open mind: Despite the 27-24 loss to the New York Jets, I would much rather have Tony Romo as my quarterback than Mark Sanchez.
Yes, Romo messed up. If he had hook slided on the Jets’ three with less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, you likely get the field goal, a ten-point lead, and maybe even the game. On top of that, throwing the ball late in the game in Darrelle Revis’ direction was foolish, especially after Antonio Cromartie had already been victimized twice for touchdowns.
What Romo didn’t do was let the opposing offense march 97-98 yards down the field for a touchdown in the ensuing possession. He also didn’t allow Mark Sanchez to throw for 335 yards (second highest in his career, which is somewhat of anomaly when you look at his stats in below), or left the gap open in the middle that allowed Joe McKnight to block Mat McBriar’s punt, which was returned by former practice squad player Isaiah Trufant for the game-tying score.
Romo is still better than Sanchez. Listen, I support Sanchez because of the whole being Hispanic thing– something I’m sure the NFL would be happy to hear– but right now, in his third year as a professional football player, Mark Sanchez is not a very good quarterback. In 31 regular season starts (not counting tonight’s), the Jets’ QB has thrown for 5735 passing yards, has 29 TDs, and 33 interceptions. Per game average? 198 yards, 0.93 TDs (as in less than one), and 1.06 interceptions. Tony Romo, meanwhile, has an average of 268.65 passing yards , 1.88 touchdowns , 0.96 interceptions per game in 61 starts.* By those stats alone, who gives you a better chance at winning?
“Oh, but what about the intangibles? What about Mark Sanchez’ poise under pressure?” The screen grab below? It’s from when Nick Folk (former Cowboys kicker, by the way), won the game for the Jets. Any and all pressure fell on the kicker, not on Sanchez. What did Sanchez do during the game-winning situation? He looked away. When the game wasn’t in his hands, his back was to the action on the field:
How exactly is that poise again?
Tony Romo, more than any quarterback in the NFL, has the reputation of being a choker. The most cited evidence to support this claim is the botched field goal from the 2007 NFC Wild Card game against Seattle. What people fail to remember is that wide receiver Terry Glenn fumbled the ball at the Cowboys’ own two-yard line in the previous possession, which resulted in a Seahawks safety and eventual lead. But why bother with context, right? The choking narrative–paired with the first image in this post (from that game)– makes it easy to always look in Romo’s direction when the Cowboys (and their fans) need a scapegoat. That same loser’s stigma was something that plagued Peyton Manning and Dirk Nowitzki for the larger part of their careers. Of course, once they both won championships in their respective sports, the high-decibel talking heads shut their mouths. Unfortunately, Tony, this is what you’ll have to do to get them to shut up.
*All stats are from Pro Football Reference. They do not include the number’s from this game.
Fidel Martinez is Managing Editor of Tu Vez.