In the final 20 days before the start of the regular season, we are counting down the top 20 players in the NFC East. For a full explanation, see this post. And if you want to read any of the other posts that have run since we started this series, you can find them all here, in this link.
(Last year: No. 7)
No player in the NFC East stirs more emotion than Romo. Many will consider this ranking too high, shouting things like, "One playoff win!" and "I'm surprised his ranking didn't get intercepted!" etc. Others will consider this ranking too low, citing Romo's excellent and consistent regular-season numbers and a justifiable belief that the negatives too strongly outweigh the positives in too many people's minds. Me, I left him right here where he was last year, at No. 7 on the list of best players in the NFC East. I guess you can sit here and say he should be better. And throwing three interceptions in the division title game against Washington in Week 17 last year certainly didn't help his case. But more than two-thirds of the teams in the league would take Romo over their current quarterback situation, and in the end I think he's a bit of an underappreciated player.
He's gone over 4,000 yards passing in three of the past four seasons, the only exception being the 2010 season in which he missed 10 games due to injury. He has a career completion percentage of 64.7 and hasn't been under 63 in a season since 2008. He has a 95.6 career passer rating, which is higher than those of Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, to name a few. And for all of the talk about interceptions, last year's 19 was an anomaly, tying a career high. He's only thrown more than 14 in a season twice in his career.
The issue, of course, is the winning, or lack thereof. The three quarterbacks named in the previous paragraph have a combined five Super Bowl titles. Romo has none, as everyone knows. If that were not the case, I believe he'd be more freely talked about among the great quarterbacks of his era, since the numbers put him there on their own. Romo's own role in the Cowboys' lack of Super Bowl success during his time as their starting quarterback is often exaggerated, but he has surely played one. Until he and they overcome that problem, he has to rank a notch below that elite level.
The rest of the rankings:
8. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins