Originally written on Lone Star Struck  |  Last updated 11/13/14

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Here we go again! It’s time for Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning. The experts like Ron Jaworski have Romo ranked as the 10th best QB in the NFL. He has not ranked the top five yet, but Manning will do no worse than number five on his list. The NFLN recently completed their list of the top 100 players as voted by the players and Romo is ranked 91st and Manning is ranked 31st. What bothered me most about the top 100 players is that Romo was 91st and Tim Tebow was 95th. In my opinion that means players believe there is not much difference between Romo and Tebow, which I would completely disagree with. When it comes to Romo and Manning the comparison has gone on for a while now. Do titles mean everything? Do great stats make a difference? Down by five with a minute and a half to go who do you want with the ball? Romo has the better stats compared to Manning to this point in his career, but Manning has the hardware to go along with his MVPs. I guess it all depends on how each person wants to look at things when it comes to ranking players.

Let me make one thing clear. This is not a Romo bashing article. I wrote an article a few months back that many people took the wrong way and thought I was bashing him when I was not. I was having a little fun with my analogy in the article while also trying to make a point about Romo the quarterback. First and foremost I’m a Cowboys fan and want nothing more the for them to do great things every season, but at the same time I consider myself a writer and I try to have an open mind when it comes to discussions like these. There is no denying that Romo and Manning are both excellent QBs, but it’s also a fact that Manning has come up big more times than Romo in recent seasons.

Tony Romo puts up some really good numbers almost every season. He is exciting to watch and seems to make things happen at times. He also seems to come up short in big games up to this point in his career. I understand about his 102.5 QB rating in 2011 compared to Eli Manning’s 92.9 QB rating. I understand that Romo threw more TD passes (31) than Manning (29) and less interceptions. But when the stats are put aside it’s Manning who is the one who rises up in big games when things are on the line. Sitting at 6-6 in 2011, Manning won three out of the last four games to win the NFC East, which included two wins over the Cowboys. With the Cowboys sitting at 7-5 in 2011, Romo could have sealed the first meeting against the Giants as well as the division title, but ended up over throwing a wide open Miles Austin at the end of the game. Did Austin lose the ball in the lights of Cowboys Stadium? I see little evidence in watching the replay that will make me believe that. Getting back to the stats, Romo and Manning’s 2011 numbers are very similar.

2011 Romo Manning Pass Attempts 522 589 Pass Completions 346 359 Completion Percentage 66.3 61 Total Yards 4184 4933 Touchdowns 31 29 Interceptions 10 16 Rating 102.5 92.9

When it comes to the Cowboys and Giants offensive units, both had their struggles last season. They both had a hard time establishing the running game with the Cowboys finishing 18th and the Giants finishing dead last in the league. In total offense the Giants ranked 8th and the Cowboys ranked 11th in the league. Actually, if you look at the offensive numbers in almost every category both teams were very close to each other. So it’s not like one team had a major advantage over the other.

Offense Cowboys Giants Total Yards Gained 6008 6161 Yards Per Game 375.5 385.1 Total Passing Yards 4201 4734 Passing Yards Per Game 262.6 295.9 Total Rushing Yards 1807 1427 Rushing Yards Per Game 112.9 89.2 Points Scored 369 394 Points Scored Per Game 23.1 24.6

There will also be the argument that the Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2011 and that worked against Romo getting the job done. It’s very true that the Cowboys defense lost some games last season as well as putting them in some difficult situations. But just as both offenses were similar, so were the defensive units for the Cowboys and Giants. In many ways the Giants defense was actually worse than the Cowboys. The Cowboys ended the season ranked 14th and the Giants ranked 27th in the league.

Defense Cowboys Giants Total Yards Allowed 5491 6022 Yards Per Game Allowed 343.2 376.4 Total Passing Yards Allowed 3906 4082 Passing Yards Per Game Allowed 244.1 255.1 Total Rushing Yards Allowed 1585 1940 Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed 99.1 121.3 Points Scored Against 347 400 Points Allowed Per Game 21.7 25

I can write about all the stats in the world when it comes to Tony Romo and Eli Manning as well as both teams until both of my hands cramp up and fall off, but it’s not really going to make any difference. Each fan base is loyal to their QB for the most part and will defend him to the end. When all the numbers are set aside and you look at both Romo and Manning as they are right now, Manning has to come before Romo as far as getting the job done. When Giants fans are watching Manning in a big spot they have no reason to believe that he won’t get the job done because he has done it time and time again recently. When most Cowboys fans are watching Romo in a big spot they are hoping he will get the job done, and at the same time praying that he won’t make that mistake that seems to have followed him up to this point in his career. I believe that is the bottom line between Romo and Manning. Up to this point one has got the job done when needed and the other has not. It’s not always about numbers and stats. It’s also not always about the number of championships. It’s about being able to lift yourself and your team to that next level when things are on the line.

As a Cowboys fan I can only hope that Romo gets to where Manning is currently and that is a championship QB. Until he starts to rise up and win as the games get bigger during the season he will continue to look up at Manning on the QB charts. Can Romo elevate himself to elite status? Only time will tell, but until then perception is reality and the when it comes to Tony Romo the perception is that he is not a big game QB.

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