The title of this post may seem odd considering that Jerry Jones just gifted his franchise quarterback with a contract extension worth $40 million guaranteed and just shy of $120 million in total. Some view that as a massive favor given to Tony Romo considering (insert however you want to point out that Romo has yet to win a title here).
Yet while this massive deal has been kind to the Romo Family Trust, the backlash from the national and local media has added to the self inflicted lumps Romo has taken for his many failures when the most eyes have been tuned in to see if he can “win the big game”. The new deal could in fact be looked at as the start of several announcements/comments from Valley Ranch that have increased the amount of anti-Romo chatter.
Mike Freeman from CBSSports.com placed Romo 2nd (with Jay Cutler ranked 4th) on his list of most overrated players in the NFL on Tuesday. It’s a list that reigning Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco would probably have found himself on had the Denver Broncos not forgotten how to play defense in the closing seconds of the two teams divisional playoff matchup. Heck, Gregg Rosenthal had Mike Vick ahead of Flacco in his QB rankings in February of 2011. By the way, Mike Vick is only the 7th most overrated player in the league according to Freeman. Just mark it down as one more list where Romo is at or near the top as most disliked, overpaid, overhyped, or however else you wish to say he’s the most fortunate guy ever to throw a football in the NFL.
One thing that Romo supporters like yours truly could hang our hats on (despite that when healthy Romo has kept his team in playoff contention every season and trails only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning in active passer rating), is that Tony Romo works hard at his craft. Yes he plays a few round of golf in April and May, but when it’s time to punch the clock Romo is the first in and last out. Leave it to Jerry Jones to obliterate that positive talking point as efficiently as he does a Cowboys draft board.
God only knows what Jerry was thinking when he said, “...if Tony for instance would be here Monday through Saturday, that is far better...than the way it's been (&) we'll have more success," but it left many locally who cover the team scratching their heads, and anyone waiting to pounce with more ammo for their ill-informed anti-Romo stance.
And those rounds of golf that before weren’t an issue to anyone out at Valley Ranch? Those are gone too, and the chatter of that choice being tied to a greater commitment to football has dominated the airwaves and headlines. As if a handful of golf tournaments matter more to Romo’s ability to win in December and January than an upgraded offensive line.
Jones has talked a great deal about having a “Romo Friendly” environment with the Cowboys, but public comments that undermine his quarterback’s credibility as a leader who consistently puts his team first only add to the toxic reputation that Romo has developed among a large contingent of the football world. A reputation that we think has so far failed to creep into the Cowboys locker room.
The better way to handle disseminating any message that Jones and Jason Garrett are expecting more time put in by Romo under his new deal would be to say nothing at all for now. Wait for a 4-0 start to the season, or a big win on the road to reveal how much more time #9 has been putting in at the office. At least then people don’t have a three interception loss in Game 16 of the 2012 season as the most recent reminder as to why they doubt Romo.
But that’s what makes Jerry Jerry, and why it’s hard to find even the most ardent of Romo supporters who think he has, or will have enough go right around him to shake that overrated label once and for all.