CARROLLTON, TX - JUNE 16: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys during mini camp at Standridge Stadium on June 16, 2009 in Carrollton, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
When I read Jean-Jacques Taylor's post on the DMN Cowboys Blog from Wednesday afternoon, titled Romo Is the Best Quarterback in The NFC East, my initial reaction was shock; perhaps this was not Taylor, I reasoned, but some sort of doppelganger from a (less cynical) parallel universe.
The real JJT couldn't possibly be that positive about any aspect of the hitherto unimpressive 2000s Cowboys, and certainly not a figure as generally doubted and criticized as Tony Romo.
Taylor even called Romo a "terrific quarterback," which is true, but still a bit surprising, coming from a guy who is often criticized for being negative. The ranking, and reasoning goes as follows:
1. Tony Romo: Has every athletic gift you want in a quarterback and is entering his prime, but it's time for him to play his best when the games matter most
2. Donovan McNabb: You can come up with a lot of excuses, but he's never quite gotten his team over the hump, though he has been to one Super Bowl
3. Eli Manning: He played by far the best football of his career, during the Giants' Super Bowl run
4. Jason Campbell: Washington spent the entire offseason trying to replace him
There's not much to dispute on the list, besides maybe the rankings themselves. And although the Dallasite in me was exalted by the findings, that nagging pest known as objectivity forced me to reconsider.
Taylor prefaces his ranking by saying, "if you were starting a team in the NFC East and had to pick a quarterback, I'd go with Romo."
This is true, as far as I'm concerned; but this takes into account age and upside, two non-factors when determining who the best quarterback is right now.
As much as I would love to anoint Romo as the best quarterback in the division--and regardless of any belief on my part concerning how good Romo will be -- we can only operate on what said player has done in the past. And this would put Romo third, behind Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb (It pains me to say this). Even disregarding the fact that one of these players has won a Super Bowl and the other has appeared in one, both made the playoffs last year, something Romo failed to do.
Now as far as statistical proficiency, one could make an argument for Romo being the best. Really, to this point, he probably is. But an 0-2 playoff record will continue to act as a millstone around his neck; and until this dubious trend is broken, it will also automatically disqualify him from such arguments wherein those with playoff success and even remotely similar numbers are his competition.
Of course, this time next year, Romo could be the undisputed champ of this list; but that part is really up to the man himself.