34,154 passing yards. 247 Touchdowns. 65.2% Completion Percentage. 97.1 Passer Rating. There is no doubt Tony Romo has been one of the NFL’s top 10 quarterbacks since becoming a starter in week 7 of the 2006 season. He has led the Cowboys to a 78-49 record in games he has started but is just 2-4 in the playoffs. Romo is 36 years old and going into his 14th NFL season. He has had 3 major back injuries and broken his collarbone three times which is leaving some to wonder how much time Romo has left to improve on those numbers and make a run at a Super bowl.
Romo’s importance to the Dallas Cowboys offense was shown in full last season when the Cowboys managed to go 4-12, three of those wins are games Romo started, and finished in last place in the NFC East. His 34,154 career passing yards are good for 27th on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list, and another 3,100 yards this season will move him up to 21st all time. If Romo plays another 3 season and manages to average 14 games a season, it is not unrealistic to see him climb into the top 10 in passing yards all-time. Eight of the ten quarterbacks in the top 10 for passing yards are all in the Hall of Fame or are going to be voted in, assuming Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are all voted in.
Romo’s 247 career touchdown passes puts him at 21st all time. Being conservative because of his injury history, Romo would need to average 20 touchdown passes per year to pass John Elway for 7th all time. All six quarterbacks ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame, again assuming Manning, Brees, and Brady are voted in. Romo has thrown 117career interceptions to go along with his touchdowns which is the 87th most thrown. Romo has averaged 11.7 interceptions per season compared to Tom Brady, who has averaged 10 interceptions per season. Romo is not the quarterback Tom Brady is, but you can see how well he has taken care of the ball compared to one of the all-time greats. On the contrary, some of those 117 interceptions have come at very inopportune times costing Dallas in big games. Romo’s 2.6% interception rate is with Peyton Manning for 28th all time.
Romo has a 65.2 completion percentage, good for 5th all time. The only player with a better completion percentage who is not in the Hall of Fame is Chad Pennington, who had a career shortened by injuries to his throwing shoulder that cost him his arm strength. Romo has a 97.6 career passer rating, only Aaron Rodgers has a better passer rating with an outrageous 106.
All of the above are impressive numbers but what do they really mean? Romo has been a top 10 quarterback in the NFL since becoming a starter in 2006 and has shown statistically how good he has been. But one big number is missing. Romo has never appeared in a Conference Championship game and subsequently has never played in a Super Bowl. With only two playoff victories to his name and the numbers above, if Romo’s career was to end right now, he wouldn’t be voted into the Hall of Fame. Some will point to Dan Marino having never won a Super Bowl. The difference is Marino finished his career as the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns to go along with his eight playoff victories. If Tony Romo can manage to stay relatively healthy over the next three years, while picking up a minimum of three more playoff victories, he will be voted into the Hall of Fame before his eligibility runs out. If Romo can manage to drag Dallas to a Super Bowl appearance, or even a Super Bowl victory, he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and it wouldn’t even be close.