Romo in top 100? No, we're not talking about Jessica's ex-list

Is Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo a top-100 player in the league, like his peers voted him (72nd overall) on NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011 show?

We asked that question on, and of the nearly 35,000 fans who voted in our poll, more than half of you said the Cowboys controversial quarterback did not belong among the top 100 players.

Our experts, obviously, have not figured out yet how to vote in our polls. The vast majority of ones we asked say there is little doubt Romo is among the elite players in the league:

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Missing 2010 hurts case

Romo, when healthy, is one of the 12-15 best quarterbacks in the NFL. And in a quarterback-driven league, that's going to land you on a top-100 list most years. The problem for him is last year, essentially, he did not play.

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  </table> So, by the rules of this "assignment" given to NFL players -- ranking the top 100 players in the league for the 2011 season -- there's no way Romo belongs. And likewise with Donovan McNabb for that matter. I can understand why reputation matters to players and I can see why it ends up in longtime leaders such as this cracking the list, but when you barely play due to injury or are yanked for the likes of Rex Grossman, you don't belong on this list.  

Romo can make plays and finally got over the playoff hurdle. When all is said and done, this could well be a nice bounce-back year for him with Jason Garrett at the helm and perhaps the offensive line better. Plus, he'll have Dez Bryant teaming with Miles Austin for a full season (assuming Bryant stays healthy and out of trouble). A year from now, sure, Romo will probably get my vote ...

But when Jon Kitna is carrying the load and your coach is facing job security questions before the leaves have all changed color, well, no, this shouldn't be like the Pro Bowl and a flawed popularity contest. Romo does not belong on this list.

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  • Vic Carucci
  • Talent speaks for itself

Yes, he absolutely belongs on the list. Romo is among the more physically talented quarterbacks in the league. He hasn't always displayed the greatest maturity or focus, but I think he has steadily improved in those areas. Romo hasn't been surrounded by the best supporting cast, particularly on the offensive line, and that has limited his ability to show just how gifted he is as a pure passer and overall playmaker. Still, he is effective enough. And as his line and the rest of his supporting cast improves, so will Romo's chances of leading the Cowboys deep into the postseason.

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  • Michael Lombardi NFL Network
  • Could be much higher

Romo often takes too much blame for the failures of the Cowboys. No matter what happens in the game, the blame always circles back to Romo if the Cowboys lose. Even still, his peers value his talents, ranking him as the 72nd player overall in the league. For me, that puts Romo in the right general area. He has the talent to be in the top 20 -- if he decides he wants to be the best and not settle for just being good enough. While Romo is talented, at times, he gets complacent and settles for good when God gave him the talent to be great. He can be better than 72, but it all comes down to his will, not his skill.

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  • Bucky Brooks
  • Numbers make strong case

Romo is clearly one of the top 100 players in the league and deserves to be mentioned as one of the top quarterbacks in the game. Since becoming a starter in 2006, he has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks. He has completed 64.1 percent of his passes over the last five seasons with a passer rating of at least 91.4 in each of those years. What makes those numbers more remarkable is the fact that he has averaged 8.0 yards per attempt throughout his career while tallying nearly a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (118 TDs against 62 INTs). Those numbers are on par with the performances of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers during that span.

While some would point to Romo's disappointing performance in the postseason as a sign he lacks the poise to lead the Cowboys to a title, I would argue he is the third-best quarterback in franchise history. Those playoff woes are merely a part of the maturation process that most young quarterbacks experience on the way to becoming an elite player.

Romo not only deserves to be No. 72 on this list, I would say that he has a strong case for being higher.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Right where he should be

Romo is a top-100 player and he's slotted at just about the right spot. There are a lot of fans who think Romo is overhyped because he plays for Dallas. I think that only adds to his credentials. Few players are under more scrutiny -- nationwide -- than the Cowboys' quarterback. Romo seems to understand this, although I think he tries to play into the mystique a little too much instead of being more grounded and remembering the tough road he took to get to this point. Romo has averaged 24 touchdowns in his career and twice has thrown for more than 4,000 yards. I do agree with critics that he doesn't take over games like a lot of top-10 quarterbacks. He takes over a few plays but not a crucial juncture or a series of series. That's why I wouldn't consider him elite. To add, if Romo doesn't bounce back from his injury and have a strong season -- individually and in terms of wins -- I think it's time for the Cowboys to start exploring other options.

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  • Pat Kirwan
  • Lost time is a factor

If we were looking at the top 100 players over the last three years, Romo would make the list. However, last year he only played in six games and had a 1-5 record. It's not his fault he was injured, but he doesn't belong in the top 100 heading into 2011. Maybe next year!

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  • Albert Breer NFL Network
  • Consistency the biggest question

Yes. Romo is absolutely a top 100 player, although not on every Sunday. Romo's ability to be brilliant was on full display early on in 2007 -- when he compiled a 107.7 passer rating with 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his first 13 starts, as the Cowboys raced to 12-1. At that point, you could argue that only Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were better. And you can still argue that there are times when he plays not only like a top 100 player, but a top 50 player. But there are also times when he plays like he doesn't deserve a sniff of the top 100 -- a bad end, in fact, submarined that stellar start to the 2007 campaign. So on balance? Yup, Romo makes the cut. And it's consistency that holds him back from rising even higher.

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  • Elliot Harrison
  • Perception vs. reality

Prior to Sunday's Top 100 Players of 2011 reaction show, Willie McGinest and I had this very debate in the NFL Network green room. Willie thought that Romo did not belong because he thought Romo was an interception machine. But that's the perception so many have of Romo, and it's completely false. For the record, Romo has thrown 118 touchdowns to just 62 interceptions. Going a step further, his career record as a starter is 39-22, the seventh-highest winning percentage among active quarterbacks. Not to be a stat geek, but those qualify as skins on the wall.

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