Who Has Better Tools: Tony Romo or Michael Vick?
One of the greatest things about sports is the amount of argument and debate it causes. As a fan and writer of an NFC East team, there is no shortage of passionate opinion among fanbases.
When it comes to NFC East quarterbacks, Eli Manning has earned his place at the top of the pecking order for the time being. That leaves Michael Vick and Tony Romo battling it out for the opportunity to dethrone him.
Romo doesn't get much respect among Eagles fans, though he does deserve some. For most of the last decade, the hated Cowboys had become an afterthought. That is until Romo took the reigns and became the new target of hatred.
For the purposes of this comparison, we'll be using Romo's last three seasons against Vick's last two. Romo has the larger sample size but he missed 10 games in 2010.
Vick only gets two seasons because his 2009 season was spent mostly in the Wildcat and his time in Atlanta is irrelevant at this point.
The categories up for debate are: Arm Strength, Accuracy, Pocket Presence, Mobility, Ball Security and Leadership. At the end will be a final conclusion.
Vick's arm is an incredible weapon.
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While Tony Romo has a really good arm, this was definitely Michael Vick's category.
Arm strength consists of both distance and velocity. Romo can get the ball deep down the field as well as anyone, but Vick is in another stratosphere with his velocity.
Vick's arm is a sight to behold, as the ball just seems to explode out of his left hand.
He can let it fly to speedy receivers like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin but he also has the velocity to fit the ball into tight spaces and get it to his target in a hurry.
Vick throws a tight spiral and his arm strength is something opposing defenses fear and prepare for. In all honesty, Vick probably would win this category against any quarterback in the league.
Basically, Michael Vick was born to throw the ball hard and his type of arm strength isn't something that can be taught or learned.
Romo has a soft touch and is an efficient passer.
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There was just no way to pick against Tony Romo in accuracy. He isn't only more accurate than Vick, he is also one of the most accurate passers in the NFL.
Romo has never finished with a completion percentage lower than 61.3, while Vick's career-high is 62.6, and he has topped 60 percent only once.
Over the past three seasons Romo has completed 65.4 percent of his passes, to Vick's 61.1 percent.
He is fourth among active quarterbacks and sixth all-time in completion percentage. Romo has also finished in the top three in completion percentage in two different seasons.
Obviously, Romo isn't perfect, but Vick is more erratic with his throws and mechanics and Romo throws with a lot of precision and touch.
Vick has improved tremendously in this area but he still isn't on the same level of accuracy as Tony Romo.
Romo is shifty and buys time with his legs to make plays with his arm.
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Tony Romo is probably not who anyone expected here because of Michael Vick's ability to elude pressure. It wasn't an easy choice, but as an Eagles fan, this aspect of Romo's game annoys me more than any other.
While Vick has excellent speed and quickness and makes highlight-reel plays, Romo just seems to have a sixth sense in the pocket.
How often do you see Romo primed for a blindside hit, only to spin out of trouble and get a pass off? Too often. Aside from just eluding pressure, Romo seems to be able to keep plays alive and make plays out of nothing.
Vick can do these things as well, but I just find that Romo has a better feel for when to give up on a play than Vick does. Vick takes more sacks and doesn't throw the ball away often enough.
Vick has all the physical tools to take this category but Romo just takes better advantage of his.
Vick is the greatest running quarterback of all time.
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This is another landslide win for Vick. While Romo can escape and make plays with his legs, Vick's legs are legendary.
Vick has the speed of a wide receiver, and is a threat to take off and break a game wide open at any time.
In addition to his blazing speed, he is also incredibly quick, elusive and as tough as they come. His toughness comes with a price at times, but that isn't what this category is about.
He will fight for every single yard, and these attributes strike fear into every defense he faces.
In his two years as the starter in Philadelphia, he has rushed for 1,265 yards and 10 touchdowns on 7.2 yards per rush.
Vick is also the all-time rushing leader among quarterbacks and has the first 1,000 yard rushing season by a quarterback.
Tony Romo isn't a slouch in this department, Michael Vick just happens to be the best ever.
Romo has taken better care of the ball than he's given credit for.
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I never, ever thought in a million years I would be talking about ball security and Tony Romo in the same sentence, at least not in a positive manner.
Despite struggles earlier in his career, Romo has learned to value the ball. Over his last three seasons, he is throwing an interception on just 2.0 percent of his pass attempts.
Over the last two seasons, Vick is at 2.5 percent, including 3.3 percent last season.
When it comes to fumbles, Romo has 13 in his last 38 games while Vick has 21 in his last 25 games.
In fairness, Vick has an extra 113 rushing attempts in that span. If you add sacks and rushing attempts and average out a fumble percentage, Vick comes out slightly ahead.
Romo has a 9.3 fumble percentage against Vick's 9.0 percent.
This is a close call, but Romo gets a slight edge despite his reputation as a turnover machine.
Vick is the alpha dog on his team.
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This was the most difficult category because none of us really knows exactly what's going on behind the scenes.
Basically, this category is a lumping of what you'd call leadership, intangibles and clutch performance.
Romo gets a little too much blame for Dallas' lack of playoff success but it is still a black eye on his career. He has a 1-3 playoff record, which includes some awful performances as well as an 11-17 mark in December and January.
He also presided over the 2008 season where the Cowboys lost 3-of-4 to close the season and miss the playoffs on the final day of the season. In 2011 they lost 4-of-5, to get knocked out in the final game once again.
Vick has never led his team anywhere either, but he just has this will to win that seems to be infectious with his teammates. He led the team from the ashes in 2010 and few players are as revered by teammates the way Vick is.
He also went in to Green Bay early in his career and slapped around the Packers in a playoff game. It was the first time an opponent went into Lambeau Field and won a playoff game.
By a small margin Vick edges out Romo, but both still have a lot to prove in this area.
Reid can help Vick reach a new level.
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After six categories, three went in favor of Vick and three in favor of Romo. With his significant advantages in arm strength and mobility, Vick comes out with the greater level of skill.
The thing is, Romo has the advantage as a passer. Vick has the advantage in raw physical ability.
At this point in their careers, Romo is the more seasoned quarterback but Vick is the more dangerous player. When you also consider that Andy Reid is still shaping Vick into an NFL quarterback, the prospect of what he could become is scary.
Tony Romo is a better quarterback than the average fan realizes but with both playing at their highest level, Vick has the edge.
Before I finish up, I just want to make clear that this is my view and I encourage any readers to add their opinions in the comments. Like I said, debate is one of the best aspects of being a sports fan.