In Chicago and Philadelphia, years and years of winning but no playoffs this season has cost two NFL head coaches their jobs. In Dallas, coming up short — but still playing for a playoff spot — is apparently bolstering support for quarterback Tony Romo.
Brandon George of the Dallas News says the Cowboys hope to sign Romo to an offseason contract extension. Romo, who has been the starter in Dallas for the better part of seven seasons, is under contract in 2013 and put off extension negotiations during the 2012 season.
Romo ended the year by throwing three interceptions against the Redskins in a loss that gave Washington the NFC East title and the final spot in the playoffs. But that’s no matter, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says — at least the Cowboys were there. Garrett chose to focus this week on the games that Romo has won leading up to two straight years of Week 17 losses, not the Week 17 losses themselves.
“We have a great belief [in] Tony Romo as our quarterback,” Garrett said Monday, according to the Dallas News. “Tony has won a lot of big games for us, too, to get us to the point where we can play for the division in Week 17 in consecutive years.”
Garrett emphasized Romo’s record since taking over under center, where he’s gone 55-38.
“We all know that we want to take the next step, and Tony is going to be a big part of that going forward,” Garrett said. “You have to understand the whole body of work. You have to understand that winning is how we get evaluated. He’s done a lot of great things for this franchise. We’re excited about him being our quarterback.”
Romo’s success for Dallas can’t be argued with. He took over for Drew Bledsoe in 2006 and went 38-17 in his first four seasons as a starter. Since then, however, he’s posted just a 17-21 record, including a 1-5 injury-shortened season and back-to-back 8-8 runs with those Week 17 folds.
The main knock against Romo continues to be his inability to win — or steer clear of interceptions — when it matters most. While he started off hot, his playoff drought with Dallas is what has many people thinking that the Cowboys must upgrade again if they want to get past the Giants and the resurgent Redskins in the NFC East.
The flip side of that, though, is the reasoning that Garrett appears to be using: A team often doesn’t know the good thing it has until it gets rid of it. While plenty of people think that getting rid of Romo would put the Cowboys over the top, Dallas management may think the team is fortunate to get as far as it has, and that swapping Romo for another quarterback, or drafting a young player, would be a step backward.
One thing everyone can likely agree on is that now is not the time for any Mark Sanchez-like contracts for Romo, no matter how much his coach says he likes him.
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