Denver, CO. The NFL in 2012, without a doubt, is a QB-driven league more than ever before. To be a successful team in this day and age, a high quality signal caller is essential to be considered a viable contender each and every year. The rules have been altered over the years to benefit offenses, so a quarterback with precise accuracy or a rocket arm often times vaults certain teams deep into the playoffs. Although a few times over the years have made it to and even won a Super Bowl without an elite QB here and there, by and large it is the teams with top-notch passers who are winning the rings each February. For the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, they are in very similar situations in 2012. They are both off to pretty good early season starts, have a lot of optimism about the rest of the year, and have QB’s who have shown glimpses at times of being stars in this league. Fans of both teams will generally argue how their particular quarterback is underrated, and gets much more blame for losing games than they should. They will also usually point out how it is other factors that are not focused on when it comes to why the Bears or Cowboys come up short, which has happened for each team quite often in recent memory. So as Chicago prepares to face Dallas in week 4, Jay Cutler and Tony Romo are in remarkably similar situations at this point in their careers. Neither one has reached the lofty goals that so many fans have for each of them, but each still has time to do so. Both have displayed the ability to lead their teams to wins, and look great doing so. But both have also shown the capability to buckle under the pressure, and come up small when things are on the line. So which of these two talented NFL QB’s is the better player and leader for its historic franchise? But the better question might actually be, which QB is the bigger enigma?
Although Jay Cutler and Tony Romo are similar in many ways, their personalities couldn’t be much different. Cutler has proven to be, at times, arrogant, selfish, aloof, and disinterested. Romo is the exact opposite, showing over the years that he is a team player, happy-go-lucky, and always working to get better. Either way you look at it, the outcomes have been eerily similar for these two guys. For the most part, these are two of the most criticized QB’s in the NFL right now, and probably deservedly so. Both players have proven they have the talent and ability to get the job done, and at a very high level. They have each had moments in the last few years when they looked spectacular, and on the cusp of taking their respective teams deep into post-season play and maybe even a Super Bowl. But for both Cutler and Romo, there always seems to be something…..something that derails their success, and something that disappoints the big expectations that both Chicago and Dallas fans have had. Whether it has been injuries, erratic play, or not coming through in big moments, both of these high-caliber passers simply have not met expectations so far in their careers. So as good as both have shown at times to be, which player has had the better career so far? And which has been the bigger disappointment?
Here are some stats which may help you decide. Jay Cutler is now in his 7th NFL season. In 81 games, he has a 43-38 record as a starter. He has thrown 120 TD’s and 92 interceptions, with a 60.8 completion %. Other important stats include throwing for 233.6 yards/game and having a career QB rating of 83.6. Tony Romo on the other hand, is also in his 7th year as a starting QB. In 80 games, he is 49-31 as a starter. He has thrown 153 TD’s and just 75 interceptions, with a 64.5 completion %. Romo has averaged 269.7 yards/game since taking over as the starter in 2007, and has a career QB rating of 96.6. The regular season numbers lean pretty decidedly in the favor of Tony Romo, as he has the edge in every meaningful category. Although neither QB has experienced really any playoff success to this point, this could also be why Romo has received more criticism overall than Cutler has. Tony has shown to be one of the best regular season QB’s over the last 5 or so years, so the fact that he hasn’t led the Cowboys deep into the playoffs gives his critics plenty of ammunition. The question of why he crumbles and can’t seem to be the same player in December and January always seems to be there year after year. At 32 years of age, Romo still has the time to write a new legacy, but he needs to do it soon. He is still in his prime, but how much longer does he really have to produce at a high level? For Cutler, he has battled injuries here and there, and also hasn’t come to the forefront when the Bears have needed him. He has games where he looks to have put his inconsistent play behind him, only to follow it up with a disastrous performance that leaves fans asking where the old Jay went. Cutler is just 29 years old, so his window is not closing really at all yet. However, he has shown that he is not developing his game and getting better. Will he ever progress and put a whole season together of outstanding production? It’s still anyone’s guess, but nothing he has shown so far would give anyone the indication that the answer is yes.
Is the final story written for either Jay Cutler or Tony Romo at this point in their careers? Definitely not, as both QB’s have several more years to add to and change what their ultimate legacies may end up being. But for both leaders of the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys respectively, the time is now to significantly alter how they will be remembered. Will they be remembered as a couple of QB’s who had tons of talent, but never elevated their teams to Super Bowl levels? Or will either one or both finally put it all together in the coming years and silence their critics with a championship run? Stranger things in this crazy NFL world has happened before, but odds are, both players will finish their careers one day without that coveted Super Bowl ring.
Denver Sports by J Simp