- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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I don't know. I mean, I saw everything blow up on Twitter last night about former New York Giants receiver Amani Toomer saying Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was better than Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and so I was eager to hear the Sirius XM radio audio myself. And as usual, everybody's way overreacting.
Toomer wasn't answering a question about which of those two NFC East quarterbacks is better. He was issuing a defense of Romo against his Cowboys-fan critics. He barely even mentioned Manning. Here's what he said:
"Tony Romo is probably, if you look at it statistically, he's probably the best quarterback in the NFC East. I mean, look at Eli Manning and what he does in the fourth quarter, but you talk about consistency, you talk about 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, that guy can play. And all the Cowboy fans out there that are saying he can't play, saying they don't like him, you've got to really look at what you're getting, because you can't replace a guy like that because he is a top, upper-echelon quarterback and I just don't see why he is getting blamed for all these things that kind of aren't his fault.
"For me, if I wanted a guy that is going to throw less interceptions and be more productive, higher completion percentage, I'm going to go with Tony Romo."
So yeah, in saying Romo's the best quarterback in the NFC East he's picking him over Manning. Surprising because Toomer is a former Giant and a former Manning teammate, but it's hardly the scintillating stuff of major controversy. Romo does throw fewer interceptions and more touchdown passes than Manning does. Manning's fourth-quarter comeback ability ranks among the very best of this or maybe any generation, but Romo has a pretty strong fourth-quarter record as well. Scouts watch both players, and most of them like Romo better, in terms of his physical ability, but they tend to say it's pretty close.
Manning, of course, has the ultimate trump card -- eight playoff victories, including two Super Bowl titles and two Super Bowl MVP awards. Romo, as we all know, has won only one playoff game. Which is why Romo is not the best quarterback in the NFC East and Manning is. But it's worth remembering that this was a very close call all throughout last year and that, if the Cowboys had won the Jan. 1 game, it wouldn't seem nearly as silly as it does now for Toomer to say what he said.
These are two extremely similar players. Romo has the better stats, but not by much, and Manning's championship accomplishments overcome whatever the differential is. I take Manning over Romo, as you all know, because quarterbacks have to be winners. Manning is, without a doubt, a winner. Romo has the tools to be one, and may someday. But to this point, he has not won the big games. I understand and agree with Toomer's fundamental point, which is that Romo is much better than his critics would have you believe. But he's not the best quarterback in his division.