As the Tony Romo retirement tour comes to an end, football fans will likely ponder the gunslinger’s place in history. The 36-year-old wrapped up his ceremonial evening with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, and will now head to the broadcast booth with CBS. But, will his journey include a trip to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
If Romo’s career is truly over, then his name may become synonymous with Dan Marino as some of the greatest QBs to never win a title. Romo can only hope to reside next to Marino’s bust in Canton, though. Does the longtime Cowboy really belong with the NFL’s all-time greats when all is said and done?
The Case For Romo
Hall of Fame voters will first look at his career stats. The numbers do paint a pretty picture for Romo. Statistics are the best weapon Romo possesses in his arsenal, as he gears up for nomination, because they cannot be debated. He retires ranked 29th in all-time passing yards. His 34,183 total yards put him above notable names like Steve Young, Kurt Warner, and another former Cowboy, Troy Aikman. One more decent season could have easily put Romo in the top-20 all-time. He’s just outside the top-20 in TD passes as well, throwing 248 total in his eleven seasons. The former undrafted free agent’s 78 victories and .614 winning percentage, also put him in elite company.
Romo ranks as the 4th best quarterback to ever play the game, in terms of passer rating (97.1). His rating is even higher than future hall of famers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Dallas sports writers negotiating Romo’s candidacy will almost assuredly cite these stats to strengthen the passer’s case for the Hall of Fame.
The Case Against Romo
Given the numbers presented previously, it must be noted that Romo put up hefty stats during a pass-heavy era in the NFL. His total passing yards are impressive, until you realize mediocre QBs like Kerry Collins, Jim Everett, and Matt Hasselbeck all boast better numbers.
Of course, the most substantial case against Romo will be made about his postseason performance. Romo has a career record of 2-4 in the playoffs, with zero trips to a Super Bowl or even an NFC Championship Game. While the AFC has been dominated by Manning and Tom Brady in the 21st century, the NFC has been wide open. Since 2001, the NFC has sent 12 different teams to the Super Bowl. Yet, Romo and the Cowboys never got a sniff of it. Instead of reciting his 93.0 passer rating in the postseason, Romo will be remembered for his infamous snafu on a potential game-winning field goal against the Seahawks in 2007, a play which came to symbolize his career.
If Romo was to suit up for one more season with, say, the Houston Texans or Denver Broncos, and win a Super Bowl, there would be no debate. His career stats paired with a championship, would undoubtedly make him Canton-worthy. Unfortunately, in the end, Romo’s HOF candidacy may be reminiscent of that play in Seattle he’s most known for; close, but no cigar.