Mac Engel

Romo belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Cowboys quarterbacks

For the Cowboys to make it to the Super Bowl this season, they need to make sure quarterback Tony Romo remains upright.
For the Cowboys to make it to the Super Bowl this season, they need to make sure quarterback Tony Romo remains upright. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

When DirecTV tapped Tony Romo for one of its silly NFL commercials, he had officially made it without actually making it.

Those ads are normally reserved for the Mannings — guys who have won Super Bowls.

“It was a neat experience and obviously quite the embarrassing experience,” Romo said Thursday.

Romo is 35, and by virtue of his considerable statistics and bizarre circumstances, he is one of the best QBs in the NFL that merits a DirecTV ad. While we’re at it, the Dallas Cowboys’ Mount Rushmore of QBs should be expanded to include this guy. He does not have the postseason wins like a Staubach, Aikman, White or the individual achievements like a Meredith, but the eyeball test says Romo is in that strata.

Whatever you think about Tony Romo, his ability to continually take it and produce should at least earn your respect. He is coming off the best season of his life; if that is going to repeat itself, what 2014 showed is that this team will not win big if it asks him to be a superhero.

The Cowboys can’t ask Romo to throw it 40 times a game and expect to be in the NFC title game. He says his multi-surgeried back is OK, and he knows how to manage it now. He said something about torque; who cares? Just don’t get hit.

“When I had back surgery, it sucks you go through surgery and deal with it and then you man up and go out and get better. It’s all you do. It’s the same thing now,” he said when I asked him if he worries about it whenever he takes a hit. “I get to string together far more days of consistency now than I did when I was coming back from it.”

His back is the one reason I thought the Cowboys should have overpaid for running back DeMarco Murray; even if Murray’s production dropped from last season’s record-breaking season, he could be trusted to have his QB’s back. How much is that worth? The Cowboys are good as long as Romo plays.

Now his back is on Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar. Even if this trio does not run the ball as well as Murray did in 2014, they better at least block for Romo as well as Murray did last season. He was sacked 29 times last season, the best ratio of sacks to games since 2007.

However good he says he feels, every Romo supporter is scared to death at the hint of another hit. That the next hit is the last hit. It would be a shame for Romo to go down now considering where he is as a player.

Everything you wanted Tony Romo to become when he was put in as the team’s starting quarterback at halftime against the New York Giants on Monday night football in October 2006 he became last season. He was a leader. He was a closer. He protected the ball. He escaped pressure with a signature Romo-spin that even left Houston’s J.J. Watt frustrated. He sprayed the ball to a load of receivers, some of whom he made look better than they are. And that fourth quarter ball to Dez Bryant in the playoff game in Green Bay was there.

He can do it all again, as long as he is upright.

Romo is entering his ninth consecutive season as this team’s starting quarterback, one more than Roger Staubach ever did and three fewer than Aikman. The only thing that separates Romo from those men are those pesky little playoff wins. Romo has two of those. Aikman and Staubach, and White, have ... a lot more than two.

With Romo, it’s always the same thing. He is merely evaluated now by the postseason. Everything else he has done.

This figures to be the best and most complete team Romo has been on since 2007, ’08. They don’t need him to be anything more than what he is, which is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL who is worthy of his own DirecTV commercial.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog

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