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Red Zone Play: Just Say No To Romo

One Texans fan doesn’t want the Cowboys’ longtime starting QB anywhere near Houston.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The number one story making the news cycle right now is “Where will Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo land in this off-season?” Most, if not all, predictions have the Houston Texans at the top of the list for the former savior of America’s Team.

Many unofficial Houston Texans news outlets, blogs and the like have already anointed Romo as the savior of Texans as well.

Hold those horses, Sparky.

Let’s put the brakes on that talk before the lather starts dripping from the clenched teeth of frothing madness that is the Mob Rules mentality of fandom.

Most of the predictors view the Texans as a team one QB away from winning it all. That argument isn’t hard to buy, especially considering the last two playoff losses were derailed in large part by a combined eight interceptions thrown by the starting quarterbacks. Despite New England’s ability to defy all odds and shatter the Super Bowl record books this year, no team wins in the postseason throwing eight picks in two games – not even Darth Belichick’s Empire.

So, for the sake of argument, let’s say all Houston needs is a quality signal-caller and the Lombardi Trophy is a gimme. We’ll ignore the offensive line trouble, tight end inefficiency, bizarre play-calling, and worrisome clock management for now.

In the last 32 games the Dallas Cowboys have suited up for, Tony Romo missed all but five due to injury. Sure, some of that was padded out by Dak Prescott’s hot hand, but if Dallas didn’t believe in Romo enough to put him in over a rookie… well… you do the math.

In that same span, Houston has lost Tom Savage (twice), Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Hoyer to injuries. It doesn’t take a Las Vegas betting pro to realize the odds of Romo actually being healthy to play in the 2017 postseason are far longer than the odds of incumbent Brock Osweiler leading Houston to the Super Bowl, neither of which are worth betting the farm on at this stage in the game.

Over his career, Romo is 2-4 in playoffs games, having only won at home against the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions – neither of which was the caliber of the current New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers, the teams the Texans will most likely need to beat in the AFC to win it all.

Pro Football Reference: Tony Romo Playoff Stats

Houston is already saddled with a bloated contract for an ineffective quarterback. Imagine how angry you will be should they bring in Romo only to see him lost to injury before any meaningful games happen in the 2017 season. Imagine the laughter of Cowboys fans when this happens…

While the market and draft pool isn’t overflowing with quarterback talent, Houston over-reaching for an injury prone almost 38-year old player who failed six times to get his team to the NFC Championship Game when they did qualify for the playoffs is just bad business.

A trade for Jimmy Garoppolo—a player who is already familiar with head coach Bill O’Brien’s offensive scheme—makes far more sense. A trade for A.J. McCarron, a player who can be a solid game manager, at the cost of a substantially smaller investment while O’Brien grooms his replacement in (insert drafted rookie QB) and tries to salvage Savage and Osweiler also has far less downside.

Not to mention that the Texans could use any saved money potentially wasted on Romo to re-sign A.J. Bouye and bring in some better talent at offensive line, tight end, and safety.

Even a blockbuster give-away-the-future-to-win-now trade for (fill in the playoff winning QB of your choice) makes more sense at this point, if it really is a now or never moment in the history of the Houston Texans.

NFL ball is very much a risk-reward game. You must be prepared to take risks, but do so with a risk management mindset – plan to deal with what will go wrong. The risk inherent in Romo at this stage in his career is far too great. If Romo had a ring, or several, or even a track record of getting his team to the promised land one or more times, the risk mitigation might make it worth it. But as those who remember his botched hold against the Seahawks, Romo’s career will forever be marred by gaffes and mental breakdowns in key moments. Couple that will a history of injury, behind a line that historically hasn’t kept QBs from being injured, and it all adds up to #QBFail once more for Houston.