Emmitt Smith made no new friends yesterday when he called out both Tony Romo and coach Wade Phillips of the Cowboys, saying, in essence, "Get your act together."
Smith doesn't feel like Romo has made his presence felt as a quarterback in the Cowboys' locker room—he hasn't been the leader he said he would be.
Well, if Emmitt and everyone else hasn't figured it out by now, Tony Romo is not "that guy." He never was and he never will be; that's just telling it like it T-I-is, as the late Bernie Mac would say.
Romo is a laid back, in the cut kind of player. He takes the game plan and goes out there and tries to execute it to the best of his ability. He's not the guy you want out there with the game on the line and one play to win it all—he's simply not built to be a clutch player.
Romo needs to have big-time guys around him to make him look good and to reduce that mantle of "leader" that everyone keeps trying to get him to carry.
His playoff performances in 2006 (where he bobbled the snap on a field goal attempt) and 2008 (where he threw the INT to lose to the Giants on his own field) were just a precursor to what his capabilities would be as the leader of this franchise.
Of course, some like to make excuses for Tony. They will say that 2006 was his first playoff appearance and he was put in a pressure situation that likely would have rattled any first-time player. Uh-huh.
Here's the problem with that theory: When a player puts on that uniform, he is expected to perform wherever he is placed. All Romo did prior to overtaking Drew Bledsoe for the starting job was act as the Cowboys' field goal holder—this was nothing new.
Dallas trusted that he would be able to do what he had done numerous times before that—take the snap, secure the hold, and let the kicker do the rest.
He crumbled under the pressure of the moment and fumbled the snap. Game over. Dallas loses.
In 2008, he threw an end zone interception to end the game and any hope of a Super Bowl appearance. In his defense, there were plenty of miscues throughout the game that contributed to that loss.
However, that said, it's the playoffs. If you have a genuine opportunity to make a play, you make a play; Romo just couldn't get the job done that day.
For those who will hang their hat on a porous offensive line, poor play by the wide receivers, and a secondary that forgot to show up for Dallas in the fourth quarter, I say to you, this is football. Adjust.
Tony may not have been able to do anything about the sacks or the secondary, but with the ball in his hands and the game on the line, he had a chance to be the savior. He could have made a play; instead, on three straight downs he couldn't manage even a yard—not one.
Is it his fault that the Cowboys lost?
No, but it's his fault that he lacked the moxie to get the job done in yet another high-pressure situation.
Blame it on the trip to Mexico or on former girlfriend Jessica Simpson, but he wasn't blowing the doors off anyone in that game. Period.
Think Peyton Manning could have found a way to make that 4th-and-11? How about Tom Brady? Ben Roethlisberger?
Big quarterbacks make big plays in spite of the overall performance of their team. That's what separates good from great—the Super Bowl contender from the Super Bowl winner.
People need to stop making excuses for Romo and his lack of clutch play because it simply is what it is. He's a good quarterback, perhaps even great, but he's not clutch. He will never be clutch, and he's definitely not a leader.
Does that mean Dallas cannot win a Super Bowl with him? Absolutely not. He still has a ton of talent and has the ability to put the D-Town Boys in position to win it all if given the right circumstances and the right personnel.
You put Tony under center on that Ravens team last year, and perhaps that AFC Championship game has a different outcome...just saying.
It's time for people to let Romo do what he does best: be an efficient quarterback with playoff potential.
Leave the rah-rah stuff for the other guys, because Romo is simply not "that guy."