By Patrick Imig
Cold, Hard Football Facts Quote Tracker

Tony Romo's approval rating has soared the last two weeks. He played through a cracked rib and punctured lung while leading the Cowboys to their overtime win against the 49ers. His Monday night performance against the Redskins was unspectacular yet satisfying because Dallas is 2-1 and Romo has been stamped with the tough label. It all goes back to the Week 2 injury. Regardless your opinion of Romo prior to Week 2, you had to think to yourself "he played with a cracked rib and punctured lung? Holy mackerel." 

While you saw it as a sign of leadership and toughness (you is a good person, by the way, and you deserve a beer for your efforts), CBS and Westwood One analyst Boomer Esiason sees it as an atrocity and miscarriage of justice. Here's how Esiason explained it late last week: 

"He's not Troy Aikman, he's not Roger Staubach, I get all that. But that fueled Tony Romo in my estimation on Sunday. He may deny it ... he has a punctured lung and two fractured ribs. What the hell are the Cowboys doctors doing? Are you allowed to play with a punctured lung, a collapsed lung, broken ribs? Is that what the NFL is now? Or do we actually care about the players?"

To answer Boomer's question, yes. The punctured lung rule has yet to be implemented in the league's bylaws, policies and procedures. 

'Why the hell isn't the NFL investigating how Tony Romo got back on the field? And why are we glorifying it? Why are we now saying Tony Romo's the greatest QB of all time because he showed toughness? That mindset is supposedly what the NFLPA and the NFL are trying to get away from. Yet here we are glorifying it after the fact. You can't have it both ways."

Boomer, John Unitas thinks you're a pansy. We say that because yes, we're glorifying toughness. It's a part of the game. It's one part of the lore and mystique that makes professional football in America what it is (John Facenda voice should be used for the phrase "professional football in America" at all times). Quit pooping on the party. You're becoming the teacher's pet at Pigskin Detention Elementary. 

As for Romo, he's been officially ordained a warrior by the headline team at the Dallas Morning News. He is also the inspiration to one of his teammates. We hope Esiason doesn't read those stories or read Steve Wyche's column on Otherwise Wyche will be getting a few hundred phone calls in the next half hour. Don't you care about the players, Steve!?


While Boomer Esiason was crusading for the good ole NF-of-L, Joe Namath wondered out loud if Rex Ryan talks too much:

"I think these guys might be believing that they're better than they are. Rex has been the only coach that we know, in maybe the history of the game that I'm familiar with, that keeps continually telling his guys how good they are. And they have been pretty good - pretty good - but they haven't won a championship yet."

That is an ice cold, cold hard football fact - if an opinion could register as zero degree truth.

Naturally, Rex Ryan isn't too worried about it: "He can come in here and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. But you know what? He doesn't know our team. Even though he's a Jet and once you're a Jet, you're always a Jet, he's on the outside. He's not in these meetings. I think if he was he'd be shocked at the preparation."

This is a case of neither man being wrong. What we really need is for Joe Namath to team up with Tedy Bruschi in a tag team confrontation against Tom Brady and Rex Ryan. It was Bruschi who criticized Chad Ochocinco a few weeks ago only to be scorned by Brady. Both Brady and Ryan have the same defense in their cases, and it is that common bond that could bring together two bitter enemies. To make things even more interesting, Suzy Kolber can be the sideline reporter for the fight. 

Do it, NFL.


Oh my goodness. You already know the story: Vick was upset and accused the NFL refs of biased officiating, then he backed off a bit and realized he need not worry about it. That didn't stop the crew at Monday Night Countdown from analyzing it as if it were World War 3. The mood on-set resembled a presidential situation room. Or maybe a morgue. Or maybe one of those town halls that erupt in violence and show up on one of those TruTv programs.

It started off with an oration of the Article 13, Section 3, Line B from the NFL rule book by the venerable and angry Tom Jackson.

Then Keyshawn Johnson took the baton and extended a helping hand to Vick's worthy cause. In addition to showing clips from Week 3 where roughing the passer penalties were called (Kyle Orton and Ryan Fitzpatrick), Johnson offered supreme backup:

"Michael Vick, he needs to say nothing more. We're here several hours a week ... we'll fight the battle for him."

Even Mike Ditka got in on the action: "He's get the short end of the stick, there's no question about it."

And then Cris Carter asked a planted, prescreened question that everyone already knew the answer to: "I wonder if James Harrison if he was playing on the Giants, same situation, and that was him."

The defiant Tom Jackson closed off the discussion with more support for Vick's cause: 

"Mike, you don't have to fight that battle. You don't have to fight that battle. You don't have to fight that battle. 

"The one thing that he has done, the next time he lines up to play - let me calm myself down here - the next time he lines up to play, all eyes will be on him and the guy in the white hat. So mission accomplished."

If the mission was accomplished by Vick, tell me: why are we having this discussion again?


The oddest part about the discussion is that our old friends Trent Dilfer and Steve Young provided the voice of reason. Young called on his experience as a player, saying: "I always believed that the more dynamic the quarterback, the less protected he was. The most protected quarterbacks are the ones that cannot move at all."

His partner Trent Dilfer said the crew in Bristol was producing "crazy talk" and also brought up the numbers to prove Vick isn't mistreated. Of course, we didn't get those numbers but we did get footage of Matt Ryan getting knocked helmet-on-helmet. We also got Dilfer's advice for Vick and any other quarterback about complaining: "You can't go and complain about it after the game that they're not doing your job when you're complaining about not doing your job! I don't know if that made any sense!"

It didn't make any sense. But at this point, it doesn't matter. As long as Tom Jackson is fighting for Michael Vick's cause, the world will be a better, safer place.


No way the General at the Fox Command Center (Mike Pereira) would be left out of this one. He thinks Vick's comments are "a bunch of bull". Ha ha. Pereira just crapped on the ESPN Monday Night crew!


Headlines Mike Pereira conclusively ruled were 100% made from scratch ... 

Colts offer Stan Gable tryout at quarterback ...

Al Davis schedules firing date for Hue Jackson ...

Source: Ditka calls Pereira's designer glasses "a bunch of bull sh*t" ...

Fantasy owner distraught over Kenny Britt injury yet to lose his virginity ...

Chris Berman orders 2 for $20 for himself and no one else ... 

Boomer Esiason invents Sugar Huddle for talking ...