Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Does Romo Belong in the ProBowl?

This has nothing to do with the analysis, I just love the photo and want it at the top of my page, the BiPolar Express, courtesy

I want to state up front that I believe Dallas QB Tony Romo's selection to the ProBowl is premature. That said, I wanted to repost this analysis that I submitted to the message boards. I'll edit it some more, but here it is:

After giving the ProBowl selections some thoughts, I believe that the players who were selected to represent the NFC in the ProBowl, (the Saints' Drew Brees, the Rams' Marc Bulger and the Cowboy's Tony Romo) are probably the right three. I believe the most controversial selection is Romo (certainly caused a stir in all the fine, cowboy-hating fans in Philly). I also think Romo being a Pro-Bowler is a product of injuries to a couple of the NFC's top-tier QBs (the Eagles' Donovan McNabb and Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck) and subpar seasons by other more established QBs (witness Eli Manning's average season instead of what should have been a "break out" 3rd year, and the Panther's Jake Delhomme constantly heave-ho'ing gift INTs to the opposition - Jake regressed and Eli failed to progress).

ProBowl berths do NOT account for a players' entire body of work during said year. Besides being a popularity contest and influence considerably by past performance (some dudes make it on reputation alone), what they really seem to require is sustained excellence and adequate attention from early Oct (when voting begins) to late November (when most folks will have had enough exposure to media, highlights, etc to have an impression made [good or bad]). If a player has a good start to the season in September (getting a jump on the stat monster, cause that impacts the online voters), really makes a lot of plays (gets on Sportscenter, gets noticed) and then backs it up with solid to stellar performances in the majority of games in Oct/Nov (keeps the stats machine rollin') then said player does himself an undeniable service....

An example: The Eagles own Lito Sheppard (imho, a very deserving nod this year after a tough injured start). Lito got a HUGE BOOST with his play at the right time. After missing three games early (no jump for the INT stat) he makes the biggest play in the biggest game of the early season: National TV, the return of MEO to Philly. 4 o'clock start vs the Cowboys and the SIGNATURE replay of the game is Lito's game-sealing 101 yd INT Return for a TD, (and we all love (at least I do) hearing Chris Berman on Sportscenter that night singing, Lee-too, one more for the ROW-A-OD). Then as the voting hits its peak, Lito does it AGAIN, sealing the Carolina win with a huge INT on Monday Night Football. I'm not saying his play the rest of the way didn't matter, he's had a fantastic season, but I tell you what, the attention he got from those two plays really helped propel him to Hawaii .

Getting back to question surrounding Tony Romo: he got inserted into the starting line-up at JUST the right began in early Oct and in marches Tony and what happens: he resurrects the Cowboys season. He's got media all over him as he plays the highest profile position on the highest profile team in the NFL....but more than that, he PERFORMS....he had good games, the Cowboys WON, and commentators/pundits/fans, everyone talking about his can that hurt? (unless its like Grossman's play around the same time)....

Finally, let us take a look at Romo's competition in the NFC:
NFC East: - Donovan McNabb - after a torrid start, 5 seemed like surefire lock for the ProBowl until he got hurt. There is no doubt in my mind that voters would've sent Donovan to Hawaii and not Romo if McNabb had stayed healthy.
- Jeff Garcia - odd to have two candidated from the same team but: ok a case MIGHT be made for Jeff...but you know what, he's played in even fewer games than Romo this year, so if I feel TR hasn't played enough games, I don't feel like I can make a credible, unbiased argument for Garcia (yes, I can make a biased argument for him, and maybe take into account his total resume, but the ProBowl should be about the current year, not his prior PB selections, I understand this often isn't the case, esp. with linemen, but whatcha gonna do?)
- Washington Redskins - Mark joking right? He gets pulled for Jason Campbell at the peak of the voting...Campbell, uh no, way too late, way too raw
- NY Giants Eli Manning- as previously mentioned, wittle Ewi is having an O.K. season, but he didn't take that big step forward that a lot of folks seemed to expect (hee hee). Plus it seems like every week he's had his own coach ripping him for doing something stupid, that's not the way to get votes.

NFC South: - The Succaneers - Simms/Gradkowski?- 'nuff said - no competition there
- Carolina Panthers - Jake Delhomme, as previously pointed out, he must have gone color blind in the offseason. His new nicknames should be "golden arches" because he served up more gimme INTs to opposing players this season that I can count.
- New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees, far and away the BEST QB in the NFC this year, maybe the NFL MVP. Proved all the doubters wrong and led the Saints into almost unexplored territory. Very deserving starter.
- Atlanta Falcons - Michael Vick - hmmm, seemed more interested in his rushing totals than the Falcons' win total. But as for my argument: He was up and down during that crucial period...remember those two games in Oct were he just lit it up? Had everyone talking about how he'd turned the page, etc.....follow that with a Pisarcik-like fumble for the next 4-5 weeks and the Falcons mid-season losing streak....his inexplicable regression and the team's subsequent swoon came at a VERY bad in the voting for him....

NFC West: San Francisco 49ers - Alex Smith, NEXT....maybe in a few years his name might deserve consideration.
Arizona Cardinals - Matt Leinart, ditto.
Seattle Seahawks - Matt Hasselbeck, injuries right at the critical juncture sidelined him for too many games...he lagged both in the stats and exposure arenas, and his PB rep from last year wasn't enough....
St. Louis Rams - Marc Bulger - continued to put up big numbers and be one of the few bright spots for the under-achieving Rams...cannot argue with him being a back-up

NFC North: Minnesota Vikings - Brad Johnson, started good, but the Vikings swooned through the mid-season (hmm seems like a pattern in the NFC this year) and his play (unlike Bulger's) took a dive as well....
Green Bay Packers - Brett Favre, surprisingly one of the few folks who probably deserved at least some consideration for Romo's #3 spot. The Packers may have pretty bad this year, but it hasn't really been Favre's fault...he's been their only chance to win this year...Not nearly as bad as last year, but the team's subpar record probably did little to alter most folks perception that he is, if not washed up,then too far over the hill to deserve a trip to Hawaii.
Detroit Lions - Jon Kitna...he plays for Detroit, NEXT
Chicago Bears - Rex Grossman, started GREAT, they went through a putrid stretch of absolutely unbelievably horrid quarterbacking just when voters were really hitting the polls. If he would have played in Nov like he just did the past two weeks, and the media wasn't questioning him all month, as the QB of a 12-2 team he probably would've gotten WAY MORE votes...instead people (rightly) credit the Bears Defense with holding it together.....

So that's it....who IS more deserving than Romo???...two for sure, Bulger and Brees...I suppose argument could be made for Garcia, Favre, maybe Vick...but lets be real, Romo propelled the Cowboys to where they are right now: the Division Lead...and he did it by playing very well....I don't necessarily think its great that we gotta deal with 'Boys trolls crowing about their "Pro Bowl" QB, but its something we gotta live with...just like they did, when we got to gloat for seasons with McNabb while they dealt with putzes like Quincy Carter...

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