Romo Arigato Mr. Choke-Arto

Kenny SteinCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2008

Is Tony Romo a good quarterback? 


Yes. There isn't any doubt about that in my mind; Tony Romo can play the position better than probably half of the starters out there today.


However, what I won't ever be able to wrap my head around is how quickly Tony Romo became a household name, and that it seemed it was a foregone conclusion that Romo belonged in discussions alongside players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning


At this point, his name doesn't even belong next Jeff Garcia.


Forget the 43 interceptions in 36 career regular season starts. That's not what this discussion about. Romo's numbers speak for themselves. He does have an impressive 77 touchdowns during that span as well.


But this isn't about what Tony Romo can do. It's about what Tony Romo can't do.


Tony Romo can't win when it matters. Through two-and-a-half seasons. he's proven to me that he is a certified choke artist more than he's a certified All-Pro Quarterback.


Romo burst onto the scene with the Cowboys midway through the 2006 season. 


After a loss to the New York Giants in his first start, the Cowboys went on to win five of their next six games with Romo tossing 12 TD's (five in one game against the Buccaneers) against seven interceptions and the Cowboys were 8-4. 


Then December hit.


After a big win over the rival New York Giants on December 3rd, the Cowboys lost three of their next four games.  In the month of December, Romo threw six touchdowns and eight interceptions, and the Cowboys had to settle for a wild card road game against the Seahawks. That's when Romo really put his name on the map.


Forget that Romo was a meek 17-for-29 for 189 yards and 1 TD.  It was his bobbled hold on a potentially game-winning Martin Gramatica field goal that had fans calling for his head. Little did we know this was just a sign of things to come.


Romo would stop being the holder after that game, but he wouldn't drop his choke artist mentality.


Through 13 games of the 2007 season, the Cowboys were top dogs in the NFC with a record of 12-1.  Romo was enjoying a banner sophomore season as the new star in Big D with 35 TD's against 14 interceptions after a week 14 win at Detroit.


But Romo still had three more December games to overcome. 


The Cowboys lost two of their final three games.


Romo's numbers during that span: 48-of-94 (51%) with 1 TD and 5 Int's. 


No skin off Romo's back though. Cowboys had the comfort of knowing they were going to get a bye week and a home game. Enough time for Romo to snuggle next Jessica Simpson in Mexico, and rest easy until the next game.


That first game was against the New York Giants. That proved to be no problem for Romo; he torched them for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the regular season as they swept the Giants.


However, there would be no such luck when it mattered.


Romo completed just half his passes for 1 TD, 1 INT and a QB rating of 64.7 as the Giants left Dallas and left Tony Romo with an 0-2 playoff record. 


Could he recover from that?


Up until Sundays game against Pittsburgh, we had no way of knowing.  But we did know that Romo was 7-2 as starter for the Cowboys and had thrown 21 touchdowns against just eight interceptions.


However, none of that came in the month that matters second most (behind January of course).


Yes, the Steelers are the leagues best defensive team.  But if you are going to be a star, if you are going to be considered one of the best, you better show up when it matters.


Tony Romo was 19-of-36 with 1 TD and 3 INT's on Sunday, as the Steelers not only won 20-13, but won on a pick six courtesy of Romo. He made sure there wasn't any doubt about who lost this game. He threw an absolute duck right into the hands of the Steelers as they scurried in for the game-winning drive. As much flack as the Dallas defense gets at times, they did their part on Sunday, but Romo could not do his. 


Will Romo ever turn around his career and be the superstar so many people already claim he is? Perhaps. 


But a quarterback gets all the credit when the team wins, and needs to get just as much credit when they lose. Especially when that quarterback has 43 career interceptions, 27 career fumbles, a 4-7 record in December and zero career playoff wins.


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