Jay Mariotti Opens Mouth, Says Stupid Things

Yesterday, I wrote a post here wondering if Tony Romo was ever going to grow into a more consistent quarterback. Obviously, Romo is talented, and the Cowboys are better off with him than they would be the JaMarcus Russells of the world. The question is, will Romo be able to cut out the big turnovers that plague him from time to time, particularly in important spots? I think it’s a fair question to ask.

Unless the person asking it is Jay Mariotti.

In a sports world filled with hatable figures – Chris Berman, Tim McCarver, Scoop Jackson, Stephen A. Smith, the entire roster of the LA Lakers – Mariotti stands alone as the single dumbest, most grating personality out there. Hearing or reading anything he produces is guaranteed to make you both dumber and angrier. Mariotti wrote a similar post today about Romo’s abilities. I now take back all the bad things I said about Romo. I don’t want to agree with Mariotti, and I will happily trade in my intellectual integrity in order to do so. If Jay Mariotti thinks there’s no hope for Romo, then clearly the opposite is true.

Let’s get right into this horrible thing, starting with the headline.

Critics Are Right: Phony Romo a Bust

Oh, I see what you did there. You changed the name “Tony” to “Phony”! That’s a standard trick deployed by all recently fired, hacky newspaper sports columnists. They give players and coaches rhyming nicknames that are both unfunny AND stupid.

I am at a newsstand, staring at the cover of a gossip magazine.

Of course you are. You’re Jay Mariotti, and you have oceans of free time because it only takes you three minutes to write your column each day.

On it is a photo of Jessica Simpson, lamenting the breakup of her relationship with Tony Romo and gushing that she wants him back. Except the cover refers to him simply as "Tony,'' which is absurd in that it assumes "Tony'' is a major figure in Americana when, in fact, he's an erratic and overhyped quarterback who might be benched before you can say Daisy Dukes.

Tony (I’m sorry, PHONY) Romo is backed up by Jon Kitna, who is fifty years older than Romo, and even more turnover-prone. There is NO chance Romo will be benched for Kitna this season, at all. Even if he fumbles every snap of the next two games. Even if he accidentally burns down the new stadium. He won’t be benched, and he certainly won’t be benched before you can trot out a tired, stupid metaphor.

Oh, and just because Romo is erratic doesn’t mean he can’t be extremely famous because he once dated a famous singer AND he plays quarterback for the NFL’s most popular team. You tend to land on gossip magazine covers that way.

Seldom do I agree with the knee-jerk opinions of retired athletes, many of whom are bitter cusses plagued by Contract Envy, Media Envy and other jealousies centered around today's stars. But when it comes to First-Name-Basis Tony…

Oooh, new nickname! Wait, I have another one! Tony Ohno! You get it! Because it’s lame, you see.

…who continues to fluctuate wildly in his fourth season as an NFL starter while smoother operators such as Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco excel as sophomores, it's hard to disagree with the harsh assessments of Tony Dorsett, Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman… (Romo) already has planted a familiar seed that suggests he's doomed to a career of inconsistency. He lacks the dynamic efficiency and cool that has defined the greatest Dallas quarterbacks, Aikman and Roger Staubach.

/looks up stats for dynamism and coolness

/can’t find them

/can only find stats that show Romo has a better career completion percentage than Aikman AND Staubach, and a better INT percentage than Staubach, which does not make him better, but suggests he is a reasonably capable fellow


…Jerry Jones is dabbling in fantasy when reality says Romo might not be a better idea than Jon Kitna, the veteran who wisely was signed as a backup.

No, reality says that Romo is by far the superior quarterback to Jon Kitna. Kitna has thrown 47 interceptions in the past three seasons (he only played four games last year). He has thrown more picks than Romo over that time span, lost more fumbles, thrown fewer touchdown passes, completed a lower percentage of passes, thrown for less yards per attempt, been sacked twice as often, had a worse passer rating and is, in general, a player with no upside of any sort. Replacing Romo with Kitna is a bad idea on par with Crystal Pepsi, or letting 20,000 more people into a stadium than are needed. Stunning what you find out when you bother to look at things like stats, and film, and silly things like that.

To his credit, Romo often has bounced back from poor games to deliver solid performances the following week, which will be expected Monday night when the Cowboys host reeling Carolina. Last year, he answered a wretched game in Pittsburgh with a 113.8 passer rating in a win over the Giants.

And if Jon Kitna had played in THAT game, he would have thrown seven picks and been sacked 90 times.

This far into his career, Romo isn't nearly as accomplished as those with comparable years of NFL experience, including Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning.

…who comprise arguably the strongest draft class of QB’s since 1983, perhaps beyond. Romo has played three full years for Dallas. It took eight years for Peyton Manning to reach a Super Bowl. Incidentally, Manning was also once accused of blowing every big game he played.

No, the ups and downs of the Cowboys aren't all his fault

So you have no point, then.

But in a quarterbacks league, Romo is a maddening case of having no idea what's coming from week to week, especially when Manning burns the Cowboys for 330 yards and two scores.

"It's frustrating," he said Wednesday. "I'm really disappointed in myself right now. I'm really not okay with my play right now." But not disappointed enough to stop wearing the damned backwards cap, I'm sure.

Yes, that’s the surest sign that Tony Romo is all too comfy with the way he’s playing. HE WEARS A CAP BACKWARDS. The nerve of this young whippersnapper. Does he have no respect? I bet he doesn’t even wear suspenders with his britches!

In the final analysis, he has the look of a heartbreaker. Jessica Simpson knows that much.

And that’s how Jay Mariotti caps any column: with a joke that is, again, neither funny nor fresh in any way. These are jokes even Rick Reilly throws away.

Jay Mariotti is worse than Kanye West.

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