When enough people call you underrated, you lose the ability to be underrated. So while now-retired quarterback Tony Romo was often given a bum rap for most of his playing career, I’d like to think that enough light will eventually be shed on his success that we soon won’t be able to look back on him as an underrated player.
Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. When you spend a decade quarterbacking the Dallas Cowboys and the Cowboys win just two playoff games during that run, you’re going to be stigmatized by fools who continue to believe that it’s acceptable to judge individual players based on team accomplishments in the ultimate team sport.
The reality is that Romo, often without much support and despite not even being drafted, is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play NFL football. Here are nine stats that reveal just how damn good No. 9 was.
Throwing up the X.
So. Many. Times.
— NFL (@NFL) April 5, 2017
101.6: In the 11 years that have elapsed since Romo threw his first NFL pass, 69 quarterbacks have thrown at least 100 passes in the fourth quarter of one-score games. Only one of those 69 quarterbacks has a triple-digit passer rating in those situations. It’s Romo at 101.6, Peyton Manning at 99.9 and then Aaron Rodgers at 98.9.
7.9: Only two qualified quarterbacks in modern NFL history — Steve Young and Russell Wilson — have a higher career yards-per-attempt average than Romo’s rate of 7.9.
97.2: He’s the fourth-highest-rated passer in NFL history, behind only Rodgers (104.1), Wilson (99.6) and Tom Brady (97.2).
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) April 4, 2017
2.12: Among quarterbacks with at least 100 career starts, only four — Rodgers, Brady, Young and Manning — have higher touchdown-to-interception ratios than Romo’s mark of 2.12.
65.3: Romo finished his career with a completion percentage of 65.3, which was identical to Peyton Manning’s career rate. Only two quarterbacks — Chad Pennington and Kurt Warner — have walked away with higher completion percentages, and Pennington should hardly register considering his 7.2 yards-per-attempt average.
109.9: In games played during the final month of the season since 2010, Romo’s 109.9 passer rating is by far the highest. No other quarterback has a rating above 103.8 between Week 14 and Week 17 this decade.
— ✭Cowboys News✭ (@DemBoyz_News) April 4, 2017
93.0: Although “he won” just two playoff games, his 93.0 career playoff passer rating is better than Brady’s (89.0).
.614: And although he was never viewed as a “winner,” Romo’s .614 career winning percentage is the 10th highest among 56 quarterbacks with 100-plus career starts. It’s also the highest winning percentage among the 12 undrafted quarterbacks who have made more than 60 career starts.
24: Since Romo made his first start in 2006, he and the Manning brothers have 24 fourth-quarter comebacks apiece. Only Matthew Stafford (25) had more during that span.
So Tony Romo was good late in close games and late in the season in general, he won a lot, and in terms of rate-based statistics he ranks among the top five to 10 quarterbacks in NFL history. That’s Hall of Fame stuff, but nobody seems to be willing to admit it.
Maybe, with time, that’ll change.