Amani Toomer is not one to shy away from telling it like it is, but the former New York Giants receiver may have overstayed his welcome in the spotlight with his most recent comments.
While co-hosting Movin’ the Chains on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Tim Ryan, Toomer gave an interesting opinion regarding Eli Manning and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (h/t PFT):
“Tony Romo is probably, if you look at it statistically, he’s probably the best quarterback in the NFC East,” Toomer said. “You look at Eli Manning and what he does in the fourth quarter, but you talk about consistency, talking about 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, that guy can play. I’m talking about, for me, if I wanted a guy that is going to throw less interceptions and be more productive, higher completion percentage, I’m going to go with Tony Romo.”
The comments have caused quite a stir, sparking the flame to the always-entertaining argument of “Who’s the better quarterback?”
The inevitable—and irrational—Trent Dilfer-Dan Marino comparisons have been tossed around. The two rings. Romo’s passer rating. Manning’s unmatched clutch gene. The kind of homeristic arguments that remind us of how badly we miss football throughout these scorching summer months leading up to the first preseason games in a few weeks’ time.
But should Toomer’s opinions appear outlandish?
There is no denying Manning’s fourth-quarter prowess and clutch leadership which has delivered the Giants franchise with two Super Bowl wins in five seasons. But football is a team sport and Manning is not entirely responsible for the success New York has been had much like Romo is not all to blame for Dallas’ perennial disappointment.
However, while the Cowboys have done all they can to surround their jilted gunslinger with premier targets, such as Terrell Owens, Roy Williams and Dez Bryant, Manning and the Giants have been more successful with small-scale players like Victor Cruz, Jake Ballard, Kevin Boss, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Manning has posted big numbers and contributed in big victories with anyone he has been given to work with. Romo has floundered with even the greatest names in football, noted only with consistent failure and baffling gaffs in key moments of pivotal games.
Yes, the Cowboys quarterback’s career passer rating of 96.9 dwarfs Manning’s mediocre 82.1. But Romo has the ability to turn some of the greatest performances into the worst memorable moments in sports. He keeps the Cowboys in a game over the course of an entire afternoon, threading the needle like the best of them, but just as careful as he had been for the first three-and-a-half quarters, he is silly, careless and murderous to his team’s hopes of victory when they truly need him most.
Is he underrated? Without question.
Statistically, as Amani Toomer carefully noted, Romo is among the very best and has been since taking the starting job in Dallas in 2006. He throws a beautiful ball with unparalleled accuracy, guiding his team in some of the most entertaining performances witnessed from year to year. But when it comes time to grit his teeth and step up, in those moments that just aren’t showcased on the stat sheets, Romo is among the worst to play the game.
A 10-18 record in close games through Week 1 of the 2011 season, according to Cold Hard Football Facts, was not a respectable number for someone many consider a fringe elite quarterback in the NFL and his 2011 performance did little to boost his status.
With Manning, you do not get that disappointment. Does he have his bad games? Certainly.
But more often than not, Manning delivers with a quality game capped off by an awe-striking performance in the final few minutes that reminds you of just how great he is—and just how much he factors into his team’s success.
Statistically, for the people that look on paper and see the big numbers, Romo may edge Manning slightly. The Giants quarterback has averaged just 3,447 yards passing, 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in comparison to Romo’s 3,472 yards, 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
But Manning makes up for his slightly less impressive numbers with stunning performances when it matters most and that has resulted in 21 fourth-quarter comebacks, 25 game-winning drives, an 8-3 record in the playoffs and two Super Bowl rings.
For Toomer, statistics might be his thing and if that is the case, he can take Romo with open arms. But the purpose of football is to win, and there are few that give you a better chance at that in the NFL today than Eli Manning.
Who’s the better quarterback?
At golf, it is Tony Romo hands down. But at the game of football, behind center, slinging the pigskin—it is Manning nine times out of ten.