By Adam Dobrowolski
Cold, Hard Football Facts Cowboys beat writer

After the backlash against Tony Romo after Sunday’s collapse in the Dallas Cowboys’ 27-24 loss to the New York Jets, it would seem like Romo wronged somebody. Sure, for most, being the starting quarterback for the Cowboys is sin enough. Still, Romo is far from the Axl Rose of the football world. He’s not alienating himself from his follow rock-star athletes.
Not only that, but Romo wasn’t an overall liability against the Jets, and he isn’t the career choke artist the Mainstream Media claims him to be.
Clearly, the pigskin pundits were given good reason to criticize Romo after his bad fourth quarter. After a consistent 6-of-8 in each of his first three quarters, Romo completed only five of 12 passes in final 15 minutes. The contrast in the final frame paints something like a choke artist:
  • Final three quarters: 18 of 24 (75.0%), 234 yards, 9.75 YPA, 2 TD, 0 INT, 133.0 passer rating
  • Fourth quarter: 5 of 12 (41.7%), 108 yards, 9.00 YPA, 0 TD, 1 INT, 39.6 passer rating
The Cold Hard Football Facts support the claims that Romo hit the mat in the fourth quarter harder than Clifford Etienne in his bout against Mike Tyson. However, the comparison also shows how good Romo played until the fourth quarter.
Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones said to KRLD-FM, “This may draw a little criticism, but I thought Tony played one of the best games I've ever seen him play. You can make a big case that the way he played for three quarters was how we got there at the end and looked like for sure we were going to get the win. But he played outstanding.”
Jones clearly checked his Cold Hard Football Facts. Romo’s 101.9 passer rating on Sunday fell just short of Peyton Manning’s 108.7 passer rating in last year’s Wild Card game and Jay Cutler’s 104.2 passer rating Week 16 for the Bears in 2010, two of the best performances against the Jets last year.
Better yet, if Romo’s game ended after three quarters, that would’ve been the best performance against the Jets since Tom Brady handed in a black-hearted 45-3 mauling on Monday Night Football. In fact, only during that beatdown did a Rex Ryan-coached Jets team allow a passer rating greater than the 133.0 Romo stuck up in the first 45 minutes. Considering the opponent Romo faced, he arguably played three of the best quarters in his career.
Of course, leave it to the pigskin pundits to go overboard on Romo. In the melodrama that is analysis of Dallas Cowboys football, Romo plays a tragic hero, just like Romeo. While Romo may have a similar-sounding name to that of the Shakespearean icon, he doesn’t fall from grace under the pressure like Romeo, as the “experts” suggested in wake of the loss. (After all, Romo scored himself the absolutely stunning Miss Missouri, Candice Crawford.)
Quickly indulge a regular-season career comparison between Romo and the Mainstream Media’s long-locked darling, Tom Brady:
Fourth Quarter
  • Brady: 640 of 1052 (60.8%), 7353 yards, 6.99 YPA, 62 TD, 29 INT, 90.1 passer rating
  • Romo: 336 of 530 (63.4%), 4712 yards, 8.89 YPA, 34 TD, 17 INT, 100.0 passer rating
When Behind
  • Brady: 934 of 1522 (61.4%), 10807 yards, 7.10 YPA, 74 TD, 45 INT, 86.7 passer rating
  • Romo: 588 of 935 (62.9%), 7119 yards, 7.61 YPA, 46 TD, 27 INT, 90.6 passer rating
Fourth Down
  • Brady: 31 of 53 (58.5%), 278 yards, 5.25 YPA, 4 TD, 2 INT, 82.1 passer rating
  • Romo: 18 of 26 (69.2%), 278 yards, 10.69 YPA, 3 TD, 2 INT, 110.7 passer rating
Look, this isn’t saying that Romo is a better quarterback than Brady. The Cold Hard Football Facts would tell you Brady won three Super Bowls with a 14-5 playoff record. On the other hand, Romo is just 1-3 in the postseason with no conference championship appearances.
However, the Cold Hard Football Facts also clearly shows that the Romo “choke artist” theory is very overblown. He clearly cost the Cowboys a season-opening victory on Sunday, but his overall stats show he’s just as good or better during key points of the game.
Oh, and his 80.8 playoff passer rating and 6.16 playoff passing YPA isn’t too far from Brady’s 85.7 playoff passer rating and 6.46 playoff passing YPA.
Don’t buy into the melodrama; Romo will be back to his statistically dominant ways in no time.