Tony Romo leaves the game as one of the best QBs of the PFF era

The ex-Dallas quarterback appears to be heading to the braodcast booth. PFF Senior Analyst Sam Monson looks back on a strong career.

| 3 months ago
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Tony Romo leaves the game as one of the best QBs of the PFF era

Tony Romo has reportedly decided to bring his NFL career to a close, rather than explore playing options outside of Dallas in 2017.

Romo leaves the game having been the Dallas starter for the past decade before 2016 after entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois in 2003.

Romo may never have quite hit the heights he was capable of consistently, but for seven of his first nine seasons in the league he posted a PFF grade of over 80 over a season, including both of his first two years starting.

Perhaps the biggest issue over Romo’s career has been durability, or lack thereof. He played a full 16 games just four times in his career and on only one occasion (2009) did he play every snap of the season. That year, including the playoffs, he was on the field for 1,247 snaps without being forced from the game.

Over the past two years though, he has played just 244 snaps due to injuries, ultimately opening the door for 2016 rookie Dak Prescott to take the starter job going forward.

Romo at his best was an excellent QB, and he had a chance of proving that elsewhere in 2017, but any team he would have been playing for would have exposed him significantly more to hits from which he has proven very vulnerable in recent seasons. The Dallas offensive line has averaged 119 total pressures surrendered over the past two years and 54 sacks or hits. Denver and Houston, the two teams seen as front-runners for his signature if he had hit the open market, surrendered 208 and 210 total pressures last season, respectively, and combined to allow their QBs hit the ground 108 times.

Romo may have been able to hold up and show his talent again in either venue, but elected not to put his body at more risk of injury.

Ultimately he has enjoyed the most unlikely of NFL careers given his starting point in the NFL, and will go down as one of the best QBs of the past decade.


| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • Phong Ta

    Romo had a very solid career, but sadly Romo will forever be remembered as a choke artist as he was never able to win a ring, which is unfortunate.

    Dallas and Jerry Jones was obsessed with star players in the 00s, so they never gave Romo or the team in general the overall depth of talent it needed to truly succeed, and instead focused on overpaying for whatever star players they could get, which consistently led to huge depth issues for them.

    Romo was a very good QB who at the best of times was right there in the MVP and All-Pro conversations, but he wasn’t a Brady or Manning who could carry a flawed team on his back. As such his playoff meltdowns will be magnified, and he will forever be viewed as a choke artist forever. But hey, he made literally over $100 mill playing this game, so I doubt he minds too much.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Dan Marino never won a ring so is he remembered as a choke artist too?

  • Mark

    Did Romo get a 58.4 rating last year when his only drive ended in a TD pass?

  • crosseyedlemon

    I’m sure this was no easy decision for Tony who has always had a great competitive spirit. This is the outcome I was hoping for as his long term health is far more important than any contribution he could have made to another team at this stage in his career.

    • Leon Kalayjian

      If Dallas forced this, bad for them. If romo was the starter and prescott a backup, the salaries would have worked. So why do you not want to pay the same total when the roles are switched. If dak goes down in week10 and the cowboys are 7-3, they will regret this. Romo could step in and win several games in a playoff stretch or in a playoff itself. Not rooting for prescott to get hurt by any means but if it does happen, what if would be the question of the day.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I’m not a Jerry Jones fan but to his credit he has always supported Tony and I don’t think he forced this. That Tony’s body has held up this long is something of a miracle as he has sustained just about every injury a QB can over the course of his career. The Cowboys have solid talent throughout their roster now so an injury to Prescott would not result in the sky falling. This is the right time for Tony to leave the stage and get more quality time with his family and he certainly has earned that.

        • Leon Kalayjian

          If tony made the decision, yes. if he was told they will cut him to save salary, not a wise move. You cannot pay a backup 20 million dollars Unless… You r starter makes 2 mil. They could have made the salaries work.

          • crosseyedlemon

            I don’t think there was any chance Tony would have simply been cut by Dallas. Speculation had the Texans and possibly another QB needy team or two looking at Romo as a short term fix, so the Cowboys could have secured at least a draft pick for him through trade.
            They could have made the salaries work had they been desperate but Elliot had an excellent rookie season and should be able to build on that this year and that will relieve a lot of pressure at the QB position for the Cowboys.