Thursday, February 5, 2009

Romo's Broken Pinky Broke the Offense

I can't seem to escape the bashing of Tony Romo these days. It is astonishing to hear some "fans" actually suggest that we need to find a new quarterback. I think some of them are being misled by the media and maybe some of them need to understand just how significant the injury to Romo's pinky actually was.

My gut told me that the injury to Romo's pinky was a major contributor to the struggles of the offense, but I didn't have any proof. I decided to go back and look at the statistics for Tony Romo's 2008 season and make a before/after injury breakdown. I didn't know exactly how it would pan out, but the results are eye opening. I didn't include any numbers from the 3 games he missed. I only calculated his performance based on full games. The stats from the Arizona game were counted since he did play the entire game.

Touchdown Passes (26 Total, 6th in NFL)
Before: 14 in 6 games (2.33 per game)
After: 12 in 7 games (1.71 per game)

Completion Percentage (61% Overall, 16th in NFL)
Before: 64%
After: 59%

Interceptions (14 Total, 6th in NFL)
Before: 5 in 6 games (0.83 per game)
After: 9 in 7 games (1.29 per game)

Turnovers (24 total)
Before: 9 in 6 games (1.5 per game)
After: 15 in 7 games (2.1 per game)

Yards per Attempt (7.7 per attempt, 6th in NFL)
Before: 8.45
After: 7.04

Passing Yards Per Game (265.2 yards per game, 5th in NFL)
Before: 281.5
After: 251.3

Fumbles (13 Total, 2nd in NFL)
Before: 6 in 6 games
After: 7 in 7 games

Team Points Per Game (24.7 for 13 games)
Before: 29.2
After: 20.9

Team Record (8-4 for 12 games)
Before: 4-1 (The Arizona game was tied when the broken pinky occurred)
After: 4-3

Nearly every statistical category showed a significant drop off after the injury. I know that players don't like to use injury as an excuse, but a look at the statistics seems to show that maybe the injury does bear part of the blame for Romo's lackluster season. Even with a decline in his numbers he still finished among the league leaders in many of the categories listed.

The only category that seemed unaffected by the injury was fumbles. Romo recorded an average of one fumble per game both before and after the injury. That number is unacceptable and he clearly needs to work on ball security. It is interesting to note that out of 10 fumbles in 2007, 5 were recovered. Out of 13 fumbles in 2008, only 3 were recovered. You would expect a 50% recovery percentage, so clearly the football gods were not on the side of Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys this season.

If you want to blame Tony Romo for not getting his team fired up and being an emotional leader that seems fair. But the statistics show that Tony Romo is easily a top 10 quarterback in the NFL so any talk of replacing him is just not logical. Not every quarterback has the personality to be the guy who yells and screams. Eli Manning certainly is not an emotional leader and yet, somehow, Peyton's little brother managed to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory. I want Tony to step up and be a vocal leader but I know he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL even if he doesn't.


  1. Amen. Just look at the stats. There have been few, if any, other QB's in the history of the NFL that have put up the numbers and winning percentage (27-12?) in regular season starts in their first 40 games and this includes playing in the toughest division on football. People want to point out his #'s late in the seasom. How many QB's put up good #'s against Eagles, Steelers, Ravens? You have to find other ways to beat those teams.

  2. dude love the site, and wow those numbers are eye opening, but we have more of an issue than just romo, clearly after the whole reeves thing, it seems the team is worst than the raiders and thats saying something. i hope romo is going to have a huge year but he needs to prove it to me, a life long cowboys fan that he has the confidence in himself and the team and not the hollywood arrogance that has now developed cuz of the huge contract and tubby girlfriend. keep up the great site more posts!

  3. I saw those numbers too, that's what made me stop talking about Romo at all. Nice compilation though, really shows Romo's influence as well. Kind of have to consider other factors like McBriar on the scores because of the field position, but well rounded though.

  4. It is interesting to look at Romo's numbers in this format. Maybe a few people will shut up about Romo if they see these numbers.

  5. I completely agree that there are many factors as to why the offense struggled, but these numbers sure do make a point about Romo's health in the second half of the season. I was really suprised at the results when I started running the calculations.

  6. The broken finger coincided with Romo's rapid weight gain. He ballooned, along with his divorced mistress, and couldn't avoid a Cardinals rusher because he was carrying twenty extra pounds. Romo's priority isn't football... it's buffets, warm-weather golf, Hollywood "celebrities", and an early off-seasons. He quit in Philadelphia. He quit in Pittsburgh. He quits when the pressure rises. How many more years can this franchise waste on a quarterback who will never win a playoff game. To top it off, he's on the downside of his career. At the same age, Aikman has ALREADY won 3 Super Bowls. This soft-as-Charmin signal caller got his cash and has called it quits.

  7. Romo is fine coming out of camp, but when the weather gets cold and the pressure mounts, the worst QB in the NFC East goes John Van de Velde. Padding stats against the Browns in September is much different than blowing the last game ever held at Texas stadium. Romo has checks out every season around Thanksgiving... check those stats. He's the biggest choke in sports. Bucker can handle ground balls for eight innings, but...

  8. There are 500 QBs across the nation who could have won a playoff game with this team over the last three years. Romo just has that uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. His hands tremble so much in crunch time that he can't even get down an extra point hold. DRAFT A REAL QB.

  9. Agree that Romo is ambivalent about the game and that the Cowboys need to bring in a starting-caliber quarterback to light a fire under his fat ass, if at all possible, see Donovan McNabb. Plus, with Romo pushing 30 it is time to start drafting a quarterback of the future.

  10. it's appalling the number of people who call themselves "fans" and are bashing romo's. just looking at the stats, he is a top 10 qb. easily. and he's got at least another 5 years i'm guessing before he's "too old". maybe longer depending on his health. what we really need, is stability in the locker room. consistency from the o-line. john elway or troy aikman couldn't have done much, if any better this year with the way the line blocked.

  11. and lets not forget, defense wins games. the cowboys managed to score around 25-30 points in every game. but the defense allowed more in their losses. doesn't matter how many points the offense can score if the defense can't step up. and last i checked, romo doesn't play defense.

  12. You should look at some of the other things from those same time frames. I did that today on my blog and I've found that it's more than just his injury, but even the way Garrett called the plays were in favor of a quarterback not struggling after an injury. A complete oversight by Garrett there.

  13. you posted good stats,Romo can put up good numbers,but if he doesnt change the dumb things he has done,(some of the critical games were lost because of his dumb mistakes),he will only be remembered for that.and it is sure we all thought the same thing when Romo first started, that he may have the ability to have the greatness as Troy did(and i could have met Troy today at the UCLA basketball game had i opted to go work, what a bummer). now keep in mind it took Troy 4 years to do it, but did Troy have less or just about the same to work with ?.
    As a cowboy fan for over 30 years,and im sure no one would disagree with me on this one,being the QB for the Dallas Cowboys is the biggest stage in all of sports,and you either play up to it or changes will be made, but if change is made dont let it be because of the dumb things that could have been avoided.

    and i like this site it is great, keep up the good work