I haven’t commented much about the NFL this year. Too much else going on, and I had honestly decided last year to let go of my final long-frustrated desire to see the Dallas Cowboys do well once again. And for the most part, I’ve done that this year. I commented briefly back in the first quarter of the season about how Tom Brady was being called “old” and “washed up” after a bad early game, and, of course, he’s now squarely in the middle of the MVP talk, an MVP he deserves in my opinion.
But someone else probably deserves that MVP too, but he’ll never get a mention, in fact he will probably be behind his own teammate in the final MVP analysis. Of course I’m talking about Tony Romo. The same Tony Romo who shattered my hopes last year, of course. I swore then I’d never defend him again. And yet here I am. I am quite frankly stunned by today’s results. I was taking my dog for a long walk when the game began, deliberately, and I was spinning scenarios in my head of how the Cowboys might possibly go toe-to-toe with Andrew Luck and the Colts. By the time I returned from my walk, the Cowboys were up 28-0 and continued to pour it on after that. Tony Romo completed a Cowboys franchise record 90% of his passes (18/20) including four touchdowns with no interceptions. Those are remarkably Aikman-like numbers. Both in quality and quantity. While everyone, including Jason Garrett and the Cowboys coaching staff, rightly call the Cowboys a “run-first” team, Tony Romo has completed 10 touchdowns with no interceptions in the last three games. The most-maligned December quarterback I can think of has performed so well in three games this December that he has risen to the #1 spot in accuracy, yards per attempt and QB rating. Yes, I said QB rating, which Aaron Rodgers owned a more than 10 point lead just a month ago.
And Romo has done all this with broken vertebrae in his back, torn cartilage in his rib cage and back surgery less than a year ago. The list and severity of injuries Romo has played through has become so long that it has almost become unnoticed.
I still don’t believe in the Cowboys though. I want to. Maybe I even should. But just winning the NFC East isn’t enough to convince me these Cowboys are for real. I need to see them beat Green Bay in a playoff game, or even Seattle, before I really will accept that they’ve become a legitimate contender.
But at least for today, I have to acknowledge what the Cowboys accomplished to get to this point, with one game left to go. I think how they do next week, in what will likely be a meaningless game against a team in chaos with nothing but pride on the line, will tell me a lot about their real toughness.