Many times in sports, water cooler talk can start myths about certain players.
Tony Romo has unfortunately fallen into this trap. Because of a few bad moments in his career like his botched snap in 2007, his game-ending interception in the playoffs in 2008 and most recently his debacle against Detroit in Week 4, people are the country have developed the notion that Romo is no good.
It's important, though, to have perspective in situations like these. People shouldn't overreact and throw Romo under a bus because of a few bad games.
So sit back, relax and let us bust some of the biggest myths regarding Tony Romo.
Everybody can agree that close games and late-game situations are moments when a quarterback needs to shine to establish himself as a big game player.
Looking at Romo's situational statistics, one sees how valuable he is in big moments.
Romo has an unbelievable lifetime quarterback rating in the fourth quarter at 99.3. He has a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio in the fourth and has also thrown for over 5000 yards in the crucial quarter.
In fact, it's Romo's first quarter that gives him the most problems. In the first, he has a passer rating of 76.9 and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. If anything, it would be fair to call Romo problematic early in games but efficient late.
Instead, many people look at a few of Tony Romo's miscues, which have been very untimely and have cost the Cowboys many big games.
Tom Brady recently had a four interception game against Buffalo. Does this mean he's not good anymore?
In games decided by seven or less, Romo has thrown for 50 touchdowns, 39 interceptions and has a 64.1 percent completion rate.
He's also led 12 game-winning drives for the Cowboys in his career. In contrast, Aaron Rodgers, who many regard as the best quarterback in the league today, only has five game-winning drives.
Romo also has 11 fourth quarter comebacks, almost four times more than Aaron Rodgers has led. Romo also has more comeback victories than Michael Vick and he's had a shorter career.
Can we really say that Romo fails to perform in close games? Can one honestly look at himself in the mirror and say that Romo is a choke artist, when the stats prove otherwise?
Sure, Romo has had some bad moments. But that doesn't mean he's the guy the Cowboys want behind center when they're down by three late in a game. Just this season, he's had two games where he's been absolutely heroic.
He may be inconsistent; that's a fair criticism. That being said, nobody has a right to call Romo a choke artist. The numbers show otherwise.
Saying Romo is not a top-10 quarterback means that there are 10 quarterbacks that are better than him.
At the highest, Romo is the seventh-best quarterback.
Some people want to put Matt Ryan ahead of Romo, but he's strictly a home quarterback. He's never played well on the road. Ryan is 22-3 lifetime at the Georgia Dome but outside of those friendly confines, he's 15-13.
Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and Mike Vick don't have anywhere near the accuracy Romo does. Vick is also a turnover machine, especially this year. Matt Schaub, although very talented, has a sub-.500 record in the league and has never thrown a 30 touchdown season.
The only guy that might be ahead of Romo is Eli Manning because of his ring. That being said, he's been an inconsistent quarterback throughout his career.
Romo is a top-10 quarterback folks. He's either seventh or eighth, and he can rise to the top five with a few big playoff wins this season.
This may have been true earlier in his career, but Romo has really emerged as the leader for the Dallas Cowboys.
He's not afraid to get into the faces of his players if they're making mistakes on the field. This was most obvious when Phil Costa, the center for the Cowboys, continuously botched his snap to Romo during a Monday Night game.
No. 9 took the bull by the horns and became a vocal leader. He was screaming on the field and on the sidelines trying to rile up his team. Later on in the game, he stepped up huge on a third-and-long play which secured the victory for the Cowboys against their rival Redskins.
This shows that Romo is not only a leader in the locker room, but he leads by example, too. He has the respect of the whole team and they are in his control.
Many Romo critics point out the fact that the Cowboys went 1-5 last year when he was healthy and then won five games after he got hurt. They try to use this against Romo but it's really a very weak argument.
The Cowboys were an absolute mess last season early in the year. They had an incompetent head coach and no direction. That being said, Romo still completed 69 percent of his passes during that poor stretch for the team. It wasn't Romo's fault. It was the team that was bad.
When Jason Garrett came along, the team's philosophy changed. Led by a competent backup in Jon Kitna, the Cowboys were able to win some games.
This idea of trading Tony Romo for draft picks is preposterous. Who is going to start instead of him? The aging Kitna? All respect to Kitna, but he's a backup now.
So many teams around the NFL would kill to have Romo as their quarterback. Teams like the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins are starting different guys every week trying to find who can lead their team.
Romo is the best option for the Cowboys moving forward. Jerry Jones is fortunate to have a guy like him behind center.
This simply is not true.
Once again, for almost his whole career, the Cowboys were led by a dysfunctional head coach in Wade Phillips. Romo was still able to win 13 games in 2007 with Phillips at the helm.
At the end of the day, teams win football games, not players.
The Cowboys may have had talented teams with guys like Jason Witten and Miles Austin, but they also had headcases like Terrell Owens.
A team is only as strong as its weakest link. When the Cowboys had guys like Owens complaining about Witten and Romo conspiring without him—or overdosing on pills—it creates distractions and an environment not conducive for success.
Now that Phillips and Owens are in the past, the sky is the limit for the Cowboys. The Cowboys can take the NFC East this season based on the easiness of their schedule alone.
Once in the playoffs, they'll probably have to take on Green Bay and New Orleans to get to the Super Bowl. However, with Rob Ryan having success as the new defensive coordinator, the Cowboys actually have a good shot to do something special in the winter.
One must first look at the term overrated and analyze it. The word basically means that someone is receiving more praise than they've earned.
But this isn't true. When Romo loses a game, he gets bashed by the networks, writers on this site and by fans. The criticism he gets is unwarranted at times. It's not like every loss is directly Romo's fault.
For instance, the game against Detroit when Romo threw two straight interceptions to turn a 27-3 Dallas lead to a 27-17 lead, was not all on Romo. Dallas still had a two possession lead. The defense didn't do a good job stopping Detroit and the Cowboys eventually lost.
Once again, teams win games.
The criticism he gets after losses can be very over-the-top at times and unwarranted. And when he helps the Cowboys win games, he gets a fair amount of praise. He's definitely not overrated. Nobody puts Romo on a pedestal after each win.
That's Mark Sanchez. The Jets can win despite his play.
Romo deserves the praise he gets. In his 54 wins with Dallas, he has a passer rating of over 105. In his 35 losses, he has a passer rating of 80. This means that if he plays well, Dallas wins. If he doesn't, then Dallas loses. These numbers demonstrate the value he brings to the team.
That being said, nobody ever calls Romo a top-five quarterback or anything of that sort. He's not overrated. He's right where he should be.