Stop the madness: Romo has only one flaw

I’ve had enough of the Tony Romo amateur hour when it comes to explaining why his performance drops off in December and January. If you believe the reports, these flawed assumptions, are coming not only from the media, but also from within the Cowboys organization.

I thought it best to shoot down a few of the bogus arguments.

  • Romo is not in shape: According to a report, offensive coordiantor Jason Garrett called Romo into his office to explain that the organization felt conditioning was the reason for his late-season swoons. This assumption is flawed. It doesn’t explain situations like the Ravens game last season or the playoff game against Giants in 2008. Romo’s performance was poor from the outset of the game. Conditioning can only be a factor as the games wear on.
  • Romo is not focused: Tony is a bright QB who knows the offense. Just because he is a good athlete and a skilled golfer doesn’t mean he is not focused (notice I drew a distinction between being an athlete and playing golf, because golf is a skill, not a sport). There is nothing tangible that suggests Romo is not focused at the end of the season. It’s just sports talk radio psychobabble.
  • Jessica is the problem: Well, Romo may have two flaws. Just kidding. Jessica Simpson, whether she’s in the picture or not, is no more a distraction than a player dealing with a wife and kids. She may be a combination of both, but at best, the pressures to live with her aren’t much different.

Bottom line, Romo is a legit QB in this league. But before we go any further, there is a distinction worth noting. Those who say Romo can’t win the big game are wrong. Beating the Giants, Eagles and Packers (2007) is testament to refute that argument.

Here’s the simple truth: Presently, Romo is a choke artist. When the stakes get the highest, he crumbles under the pressure. This is the pressure that Troy Aikman, Joe Montana and Roger Staubach thrived under. I know this doesn’t sound flattering, but it’s not a death sentence, either.

Students of the game recognize this is not a new phenomenon because we have seen it before. Peyton Manning was arguably on this list early in his career, but he came out just fine. I believe greatness is in Romo but he has to shake off the yips when it counts.

— Jamie Dukes

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