So, you think it would be fun to be quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys? It could make you one of the most hated athletes in America.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is finding that out after being ranked 10th on Forbes’ list of the country’s 10 most disliked athletes.
The rankings, published this week, were the result of surveys conducted by Neilsen Sports and market research firm E-Poll.
It’s something of an honor to make the list, since candidates were restricted to those scoring a minimum of 10 percent in public awareness. You have to be recognizable to be hated.
Romo isn’t the most hated NFL quarterback, or even the most hated football player. But he’s on the list:
1. Lance Armstrong – Cycling 2. Manti Te’o – Notre Dame/football 3. Tiger Woods – Golf 4. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears 5. Metta World Peace – Los Angeles Lakers 6. Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees 7. Michael Vick – Philadelphia Eagles 8. Kurt Busch – NASCAR 9. Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers 10. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
Most of the members of this elite group were involved in some sort of scandal during their careers, or have a reputation for rude behavior. Romo doesn’t fit either criteria, which Forbes acknowledges in explaining why the quarterback landed on the list:
“Takes a lot of heat for a good quarterback who has never harmed anyone or been in trouble off the field. That’s life with the high-profile Cowboys – when you don’t get to the Super Bowl, people find a way to blame the QB.”
Hard to argue with that reasoning. When you appeal to just 27 percent of survey participants, it’s more than just Redskins and Eagles fans voicing their disapproval. (Armstrong and Te’o tied with 15 percent appeal, although Armstrong got the nod because of greater name recognition).
While Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman could probably win a race for Governor of Romo is in the same category as Don Meredith to Cowboys fans. Like Meredith, Romo is a talented, celebrity/player whose failure to win the big one has made him a polarizing figure.
Since becoming a starter in 2006, Romo has led the Cowboys to exactly one playoff win. If that number doesn’t improve, Romo can expect to rise in the disliked athletes rankings next year.