Where Tony Romo Ranks Among All-Time Great Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks

Chris ImperialeCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2014

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo stands on the sidelines during the National Anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most successful franchises in the NFL. One big reason for their long-term success has been the play of some outstanding quarterbacks.

The quarterback position is undoubtedly the most important in football. They are the leaders of the team, and most times can single-handedly change the outcomes of games.

The good thing for the Cowboys is they’ve had some of the best quarterbacks in the league’s history.

Their current quarterback, Tony Romo, has had plenty of success thus far. However, he’s yet to take his game to the elite level because of his lack of playoff production.

My personal ranking of Cowboys quarterbacks goes like this (ascending order): Danny White, Don Meredith, Tony Romo, Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Now, let me explain myself.

The only other player who could have been mentioned is Craig Morton. I chose to put White and Meredith ahead of him, but let’s focus on the top three and how Romo fits.

The only factor that separates Romo and the No. 1 spot on the list is postseason performance. Aikman won three Super Bowls and Staubach had two, so there’s just no way to put Romo ahead of them at this point.

If playoff credentials are one of the main reasons behind this argument, then Romo has a long way to go to move up the list.

Staubach was 12-7 during his playoff tenure, and that includes losses in his final two appearances. Aikman was 11-5, with three consecutive defeats in his final games as well.

Aikman was incredibly successful for Dallas.
Aikman was incredibly successful for Dallas.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Through his first eight seasons of starting games for the Cowboys, the 33-year-old Romo is just 1-3 in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Romo and so many others, quarterbacks are judged solely by winning games and Super Bowls. The fact that Dan Marino doesn’t have a ring is almost common knowledge in our society. This means that basically no matter what Romo does during the regular season, it means nothing in the eyes of his critics unless he performs in the playoffs.

Just look at the criticism of Peyton Manning lately. He’s by far one of the greatest players to ever play the game, and he’s being blasted for not winning enough in the postseason. And this man has won a Super Bowl!

Although Romo will never be close to Manning’s level, his statistics aren’t really too far away. In fact, if you compare Romo’s numbers to those of Staubach and Aikman, he blows them out of the water.

Staubach won Dallas its first two Super Bowls.
Staubach won Dallas its first two Super Bowls.Getty Images/Getty Images

Let’s start with completion percentage. Romo’s career percentage is at 64.6. Aikman’s is 61.5 and Staubach’s 57. Today’s game might pass more, but that wouldn’t help Romo in this category.

How about touchdowns? Romo has 208 career passing touchdowns, while Aikman had only 165. Romo’s record in a single season is 36, which he accomplished in 2007. Staubach’s high was 27 and Aikman’s 23.

Romo’s disparity in quarterback rating might be the most surprising. His career rating is 95.8, good enough for fifth in league history. He’s ahead of players like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner and Joe Montana.

Aikman only reached into the 90s twice in his career (1993 and 1995). His career rating is 81.6, while Staubach’s was slightly better at 83.4.

The only statistical record that Romo doesn’t own for Cowboys quarterbacks is yards. Aikman leads him in total career yards by 3,377. Seeing how Romo has averaged more than 4,300 yards per season the last three years, he should control this category after the 2014 season.

His statistics make things clear enough. Romo is a successful quarterback and by far one of the best the Cowboys franchise has ever witnessed. As I stated, his lack of playoff output is the only factor holding him back from joining the elite crowd and potentially, the Hall of Fame.

If he can somehow lead Dallas to its sixth Super Bowl title in the next few years, I think he will be regarded as the greatest quarterback in team history.


All statistics via Pro-Football-Reference.com unless indicated otherwise.