Slow your rolls. Pump the brakes. Chill out. Tony Romo isn't bringing you a Super Bowl.
Sure, wherever he signs he'll be hailed as the savior, the missing piece for a team on the cusp of an NFL title. And it'll be fun for a while, imagining Romo, the universally likable quarterback, with his boyish grin and Favre-ian love of the game, coming in and pulling a Peyton Manning by recovering from a major injury, leading his new team to a championship and then riding off into the sunset, never to be heard from again except for all his commercials, various shots of him sitting in Jerry Jones' box and winning celebrity golf tournaments.
It's a beautiful story, just like the one your parents told you about how your childhood dog went upstate to live with a lovely family on their big farm. Tony Romo is not the missing link. He's old. He's injured. And even if he wasn't either of those things, he's a guy who's thrown just 86 completions and made only four starts since the Dez Bryant game. The answer, he is not.
Tony Romo is not the second coming of John Elway, Broncos fans. He's not the ticket out of the divisional round, Houston fans. He's Tony Romo. Nothing more, nothing less. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
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To win a Super Bowl you have to get at least three playoff victories (and four in some cases). Tony Romo, in his entire 13-year NFL career has two playoff wins. Two. Getting Tony Romo to help you win playoff games is like bringing Alex Ovechkin in for the push to make the Stanley Cup Finals, except Romo isn't as good or young as Ovechkin.
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Romo has led the Cowboys to three great seasons: 2007 (13-3), 2009 (11-5) and 2014 (12-3). In his other eight seasons he's barely over .500 with a 42-38 mark. The Cowboys made the postseason in four of his 10 seasons as starter.
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He's won two playoff games in his career, which gives him the same amount as Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb and Matt Cassel, but puts him one postseason victory behind Colin Kaepernick and Mark Sanchez.
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It's no surprise Romo is behind Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman in career playoff wins for Cowboys quarterbacks. It's a little surprising he's also behind Danny White and Craig Morton and just barely ahead of Steve Beuerlein.
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Romo has been named to four Pro Bowl teams, three times as a reserve and once as an alternate who only made it to the game because nobody else wanted to play. He's received just one post-season accolade: In 2014, the AP voted him second-team All-Pro.
Other than his stellar 2014, where he led the league in completion percentage and QB rating, Romo has never led the NFL in any major statistical category. (At least the good kind: He had the most interceptions in 2012.)
According to the Approximate Value stat on pro-football-reference.com, Romo has been one of the 10 most valuable players in the NFL in just one season (he was seventh in 2007). Among active players, he's ranked No. 22 in APV and 9th among quarterbacks. Very good. Not nearly great.
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These are Romo's NFL ranks since 2006, when he took over for Drew Bledsoe as the Cowboys starting quarterback:
Games started - 13th
Wins - 10th
Yards - 10th
TD - 8th
INT - 9th
Rating - 7th
Romo does have the fourth-highest QB rating in NFL history, which is impressive. Still, that's a flawed stat that heavily favors quarterbacks of the present, who make higher-percentage throws in more balanced offenses. Of the top 25 in career QB rating, 22 have played in the 2000s and 18 played in the past two years. Among the players in that top 25: Chad Pennington, Matt Schaub, Daunte Culpepper, Jeff Garcia and Ryan Tannehill.
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These are the tales and statistics of a good NFL quarterback who was able to occasionally flirt with greatness but will end his career well short of the Hall of Fame. That's not to say Denver or Houston shouldn't pick up Romo. Even with his age and injury history, he's a better temporary option than either team has (or will be able to get). But if it's postseason success you crave, curb that enthusiasm. Forget a Super Bowl, Tony Romo has never seen a conference championship game. Buyer beware.