Tony Romo is often unfairly blamed for the sins of his owner. Throughout most of Romo's tenure, the Dallas Cowboys have lacked organizational vision, consistency and roster depth.
A penchant for heartbreaking losses have served to overshadow Romo's great moments under pressure and make it easy to forget that Romo has been a top-10 quarterback since the day Bill Parcells promoted him over Drew Bledsoe. Romo could have won Super Bowls like Eli Manning or Joe Flacco if he had the same support.
That's about Romo's past. His place on the "Top 100 Players of 2014" is about his present and his uncertain future. Romo was revealed on Wednesday night's episode as the No. 71 player in the NFL, as voted by his peers. Eleven quarterbacks are ranked ahead of Romo on the list. That sounds about right.
Even the staunchest Romo backers have to consider that he's started to decline. Romo will be 34 years old this season and he's coming off back surgery. His numbers remain excellent overall, but there are signs that he's started to tail off. Romo no longer seems as willing to push the ball down the field. His yards-per-attempt average has dropped significantly in back-to-back years, down to a career-low 7.2 last season. (His career average, 7.8, ranks in the top 10 in NFL history.)
The decreased amounts of yards and big plays haven't coincided with more completions; Romo's accuracy has been on the decline, too. This is reflected in the numbers and from just watching Romo's games. Perhaps the back was a huge factor last year, but he wasn't as consistently sharp last season.
This is not to say that Romo is suddenly a lousy option. (I'd still take him over Flacco and Eli Manning.) There are moments of brilliance, like the first 58 minutes against Denver last season. Romo did well last season minimizing mistakes and working with an uneven receiver group after Dez Bryant.
But after years of carrying a flawed roster, Romo needs more help around him as he ages. With more questions about the Dallas defense than ever, it's worth wondering if the Cowboys have already wasted the best years of Romo and Jason Witten.
The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the latest news and shares takeaways from rookie camps.