Is Tony Romo 'underrated?'

June, 27, 2012
6/27/12
3:16
PM ET

So Brett Favre is doing an interview with Deion Sanders on NFL Network, and it's a long one that's rolling out in multiple parts because Brett hasn't been getting enough attention lately or something. Anyway, part of it touches on Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, as Todd Archer writes here, and Favre takes a slightly different point of view on Romo than do most of the readers of the NFC East blog. He thinks Tony's "underrated."
"Romo is probably more like me than any of those guys," the former Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets quarterback told Sanders, who has been a critic of Romo. "Way too much is cast upon him -- good, bad. It's Dallas and much is expected. He's carried those guys.

"But I'm watching last year -- and I like Tony, I like the way he plays. At times he's underrated -- but I'm watching and right before the snap, he's telling guys (to get into position or that they don't know what they're doing). How in the world are you going to have a positive play when the ball is coming and you're telling a guy? And then he'll make something out of nothing. That's part of being a great quarterback is sometimes, it's not going to go."

I didn't see the interview, so I can't tell exactly what Favre is talking about. (Honestly, I've talked to Favre in person and very often didn't know what he was talking about.) Part of it sounds like criticism of Romo's inability to get his act together in a timely manner before the snap. Part of it sounds like he's giving Romo credit for running the whole offense with people who sometimes don't know what they're doing. Again, I don't know for sure.

Of course, it's that word "underrated" that everyone will focus on, because it's one of those quarterback buzzwords like "overrated" and "elite" that get thrown around like crazy by people who haven't thought about what they mean. Whether a guy is overrated or underrated depends entirely on who's doing the rating. When I write Romo, everybody in the comments tells me he's lousy. Since he's clearly not lousy, I assume that means he's underrated. But since he has only won one playoff game and some people occasionally write that he's a good player, those who think he's lousy consider him overrated.

To me, it's just more offseason chatter about nothing. Romo's excellent and would have won more playoff games in recent years had he stayed healthy and been on a team with a better defense. I believe this, because I've watched him play and I think he does a lot more than he gets credit for. But I'm not going to beat my chest and shout in defense of a guy who's also had some pretty serious flops in pretty big spots.

The important thing about Romo, as I have written many times, is that his story is not at its end. He's good enough to win championships, but no one's ever done that by himself and a lot of other things have to go right just to put a quarterback in position to win one. I have no idea whether the Cowboys will ever put him in a position to win one or, if they do, whether he'll cash that in. No one knows, no matter how much they insist they do. But that doesn't stop me from thinking he's got the ability to do it, anymore than it stops other people from insisting he doesn't.

"First Take" talked about this topic this morning, too, presumably since the NBA season is over and Tim Tebow's not in the news. Here's the video of those guys talking. Again, couple of guys with opinions, and not a single one of us can see the future.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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