By Kevin Ross
This week, Robert Griffin III became only the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to be named outright to the Pro Bowl. The other rookie signal caller to receive the honors was Dan Marino, who was selected to the pro bowl 29 years ago. This accomplishment signifies that not only do the fans respect Griffin III, but that his peers and coaches all around the National Football League recognize his game as well.
The statistics are otherworldly for Griffin III, who has thrown for 3,100 yards, 20 touchdowns, with only five interceptions. His quarterback passer rating is an eye-opening 104.1, second to only Aaron Rodgers who sits at 106.2. The statistics are glaring for Robert Griffin III, but his legacy will not be determined by awards and stats, but by wins and losses in the games that matter most. For proof, one only needs to look across the isle at the man who may become Griffin’s biggest rival in years to come: Tony Romo.
Romo has been a statistical juggernaut since entering the Cowboys starting lineup in 2005. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback seems to throw for 4,000 yards in his sleep. Romo has already amassed more career passing yards than Cowboy great Roger Staubach and is on pace to trump Troy Aikman as well.
Romo’s career passer rating at 96.1 is better than that of Peyton Manning (95.5), Drew Brees (94.1), Ben Roethlisberger (92.5), Eli Manning (82.3),and a host of other big name quarterbacks. Statistically, Romo is one of the very best in the NFL, second to only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. But the reason why Romo is not mentioned as being an elite quarterback is simple: He can’t win the big game.
Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman combined have five Lombardi Trophies, while Romo’s playoff record sits at an abysmal 1-3. Romo’s history is that instead of rising to the occasion, he shrinks. The moment always appears too great for Mr. Romo who plays his best football when the stakes are at their lowest. The great Houdini who turns into an escape artist when defenders are trying to sack him, turns into the great choke artist when the weather starts to get cold.
If RG3 can learn anything from Tony Romo, it’s that all the statistics of the regular seasons and honors associated with that, mean absolutely nothing if the Washington Redskins miss the playoffs. During his rookie season, RG3 can indefinitely separate himself from the likes of Tony Romo, by leading the Redskins to a victory on Sunday. So far the numbers say the Robert Griffin plays his best ball when the lights are the hottest and brightest. But Griffin has never played in a game of this magnitude, as Sunday night will dwarf the stage of Thanksgiving day.
Tony Romo wants nothing more than to shed the reputation that he has built for himself, and leave Fed Ex field with a win. If Romo shows up with his “A” game and is razor sharp, then RG3 needs to have his “A+” game and be as sharp as a diamond. Big time players build their legacies in big time situations, Robert Griffin’s legacy will begin Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.