MURRELL COLUMN: Romo’s career not as bad as many think

Published 7:08 pm Thursday, September 1, 2016

I tried explaining to the ladies over a Sunday meal: I did not place Tony Romo among the five greatest quarterbacks of all time.

I only mentioned Romo ranks among the top five active quarterbacks in many categories.

Granted, being a Cowboys fan only makes me care about defending Romo — who, at times has angered me as well. Who in Valley Ranch or Frisco hasn’t?

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The ladies were just trying to keep Romo out of the discussion.

The problem is that discussion at one point was about naming the top five all-time quarterbacks, and then I shifted it to the top five quarterbacks of today. Well, I thought I shifted the topic.

Mind you, this was earlier in the month, well before Romo broke a bone in his back that is likely threatening his career.

In the midst of such confusion, the numbers on Romo were floating in my head. The numbers were more like rankings:

  • First among actives in net yards per pass attempt at 7.09 and second only to Peyton Manning’s 7.23;
  • Second among actives in pass completion rating (65.3) and fourth all-time, only behind Drew Brees, Chad Pennington and Kurt Warner (but tied with Manning);
  • Third all-time passer rating of 97.1, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, each who’ve won a Super Bowl;
  • Third among active QBs in yards per passing attempt at 7.9 and seventh all-time; putting him ahead of Roger Staubach, Manning, Cam Newton and Brees;
  • Fifth among actives in fourth-quarter comebacks with 25 and 14th all-time;
  • Seventh among actives in game-winning drives with 30 and 16th all-time, three behind 10th-ranked Joe Montana and three ahead of 21st-ranked Terry Bradshaw;
  • Eighth among actives with 247 passing touchdowns and 21st all-time, placing him above Jim Kelly, Donovan McNabb, Steve Young and Bradshaw; and
  • Eighth among actives in passing yards with 34,154 and 27th all-time, ranking above Phil Simms, Young, Troy Aikman, Sonny Jurgensen and Bradshaw.

Whether Romo should be in the Hall of Fame is debatable. Only nine of the 19 quarterbacks ahead of him on the passing yards chart are in Canton, Ohio, with all-time leader Manning, of course, lined up to be a first-ballot selection by 2020.

It can be also be argued Romo’s 65 fumbles (11th active and 71st all-time), 117 interceptions (ninth among actives and 87th all-time) and plays like a bobbled snap that allowed Jordan Babineaux to make a game-saving tackle in that 2006 NFC playoff will keep him off a few ballots after he retires.

I watched the same Dallas games with Romo others have watched. That’s how I came away angered if not happy.

But that’s just it. The vitriol Romo has drawn, much of which so-called general manager Jerry Jones should take the blame for, unfairly hides his accomplishments, even the fact that he has only three division titles and two playoff victories and has never even reached a conference championship game.

What else is unfair? He’s just 10 combined points away from earning three more playoff wins (21-20 to the Seahawks in 2006, 21-17 to the Giants in 2007 and 26-21 to the Packers in 2014). Nine more points, and he’s in two NFC title games.

The coolest of heads will agree there is no one consistent formula that can measure greatness. Individual charts, on the other hand, do add to one’s luster.

Now, let’s move into the high school ranks and about our statistical process here at The News:

Of course, it’s hard to do a football game story without readily available statistics. Unlike in college and pro levels, computerized stats are hardly ever available, so we have to multitask and keep our own stats.

It happens all over the country. Unless it’s a team of statisticians who keeps stats for one program, such is the case at Lamar and other universities, it happens 99 out of 100 times that no two box scores are equal. So, we may stat a play one way live while coaches who watch the video to keep their official stats, which are usually sent to Wharton statistician Maury Salinger, see it another way.

There’s no getting around it because we have to give you the best possible idea of what happened on deadline for Saturday’s issue. Coaches review video afterward.

So, will denote that our game-story box scores are unofficial and any stats from each high school program are official. You may have figured this out already, but it was worth touching on.

And we will look a little closer to make sure we count jet sweeps — or forward handoffs to wide receivers — as forward passes. That’s football for you.

Thanks, again, for your patience.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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