Tony Romo told us in the preseason he was going to be the best version of himself, and he has been right. This the best this man has ever played since becoming the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, yet he is not being considered as an MVP candidate.
He deserves some credit for the season he is having on a wrecked back.
Romo can blame running back DeMarco Murray for suffering from the Troy Aikman syndrome - not receiving proper credit because the supporting cast is so effective. Aikman is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, won three Super Bowls, and yet never won an NFL MVP award. He was, however, named the '92 Super Bowl MVP. And he was named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year ... so he has that going for him, which is nice.
Tony Romo should be in the discussion as the 2014 NFL MVP candidate, but so far the names in that debate are Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, Peyton Manning and possibly even Murray.
The argument for Brady is so strong that no one else should win it, and his wife is Gisele Bundchen. In fairness to Brady, Rodgers' girlfriend is Olivia Munn, so ....
The Cowboys are not the Cowboys without Romo. They are not 10-4 and leading the NFC East without Romo. If they finish 12-4 and win the NFC's top seed, Romo needs to be second to Brady, or ahead.
Romo has thrown for 3,188 yards (15th in the NFL) with 28 touchdowns (7th) and eight interceptions.
His passer rating of 110.4 is just behind Rodgers for the league lead. Romo's completion percentage of 69.3 is just a few ticks behind Drew Brees' 70.0.
The problem an NFL MVP voter would have is that the Cowboys' offense is more Murray-centric, thereby taking the load off Romo. The same thing was said about Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman in the '90s.
Murray has rushed for an NFL-leading rushing 1,687 yards and easily been this league's most durable player in terms of touches.
Buuuuut ... in the one game Romo did not play, against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 2 in Arlington, the Cowboys offense did not score a touchdown until the game was gone, they lost, and Murray did not rush for 100 yards.
The quarterback position has become nearly an automatic MVP winner for every team, and Romo belongs in the same category as Manning (the older one), Rodgers and Brady. Their teams are zero without them.
Romo said he would be the best version of himself, and he has been right. I asked him if this is the best he has ever played.
“I think you keep improving as a player, or if you don't I don't see the joy in going the other direction,” he said. “If you haven't improved from the previous year, or years, I think you are doing yourself a disservice. I think I continue to grow as player and I think it's shown in certain areas.”
This December, Romo has thrown six touchdowns, no interceptions and his team has not lost. In road games this season, he has 18 touchdown passes and one pick. He has done it all with a wrecked back, too.
He has been the best version of himself, and is deserving to be considered an MVP candidate but the Troy Aikman syndrome will prevent this from happening.