I figured Analyzing the Enemy again today would be redundant for the 2nd meeting against the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins in December. So, that leaves Thursday as another potential day to tackle some of these other topics hanging out there.
The segment I am working on for today's radio program has plenty to do with the one man who can do the most to save the Cowboys from another December to forget, Tony Romo.
I think the trends that people read and write about regarding the Dallas Cowboys are largely irrelevant when they say no Cowboys team has had a winning December since 1996. The numbers are surely the numbers, and there is no running from them, but the 1996 team contained guys who are all either at or past their 40th birthday (Hey, Brett Favre's age!) and therefore it has little to do with the guys who can do something about it in the here and now.
The longest tenured Dallas Cowboy would be Flozell Adams (1998), but beyond that, the best players on the team according to the poll I just conducted with myself is as follows: Jason Witten (starter since 2003), Tony Romo (2006), Miles Austin (2009), Jay Ratliff (2007), DeMarcus Ware (2005), Terence Newman (2003), Marion Barber (2007), and Bradie James (2003). To me, that means that when you ask "whose team is this?", it is generally a group of guys who have about 3 or 4 years to explain away - not 12 - going on 13 - seasons.
Which brings us back to Romo. I think we can agree that no one player influences the fate of a team like a QB can. Yes, many other things go into winning or losing football, but nobody would argue the impact Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Favre have on their team. Therefore, when we examine the Win-Loss record and personal statistics of Romo, they should not be explained away.
People say he cannot win big games. December is filled with them every year. They also say the QB in Dallas is a big reason why the Cowboys don't win.
Here are the hard facts. Stats don't lie. Is he part of the solution or part of the problem? Check it out through his first 50 starts in the NFL.
35-15 cumulative record is remarkable, but when over half of your losses happen at the most crucial part of the season, people cannot help but notice. And they have. They have made it quite clear that while Romo may not be 100% of the reason they flounder down the final stretch, he certainly is not helping the issue. Look at his month-by-month QB rating.
Also, check out the TD/INT ratio by month: +13, +8, +29, -5
December contains his lowest TD rate, his highest INT rate, his worst rating, his most sacks, his most fumbles, his lowest yards per attempt, his lowest big play production. Across the board, I believe it is fair to ask if Romo can handle it.
Even Romo's biggest supporters (Me) would have to concede that these numbers cannot be run from. They must be changed. The Cowboys may lose games in December and January, but if Romo and his fans wanted him to get "respect" and to be rated amongst the very best in football, he cannot save his worst for last.
It is "Go" time.
OK. I have written all of that. I don't want what I am about to write change what what lies above the line. But, in researching these numbers, I couldn't help but notice this: Eli Manning's 1 hot month in Jan 2008 erases worse issues about finishing the season. I said once upon a time, "They have Eli, we have Romo - give me Romo", and I stand behind it. But, the ring is the thing. Eli has one, Tony does not. Eli has a lifetime exemption when it comes to scoreboard, Tony does not.
Take a look.
Win-Loss Record by Month between Romo and Eli:
Not one bad month for Eli, but two. And let's remember that the Giants are 9-8 in the post-Plaxico era (9-9 if we count the home playoff loss to Philadelphia).
QB Rating by Month:
Yes, even in Romo's train wreck December, he is still exceeding Eli.
TD/INT Ratio by Month:
Just some numbers to ponder before Sunday.
Read the Romo Manifesto Here - July 15, 2009