Fair Trade. (2012)
Tony Romo for Philip Rivers. Straight Up. Let’s Do This.
Originally edited & published at Central Track.
It’s been pretty fun watching Tony Romo duck, scramble, roll up and pick out a miracle play from his bag of tricks while the Dallas offensive linemen play clueless in the turf this past season.
A true spectacle worthy of being held at Jerryworld indeed.
Not a surprising one, though. We knew heading into this season that the Cowboys’ offensive line would be questionable this year. But, alas, in spite of being under constant pressure all season long, No. 9 actually performed pretty brilliantly at times — well enough to at least have put his team into position to play their way into the playoffs against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in the final game of the season.
As it turned out, though, Romo & The Boys lost last night their second straight NFC East winner-take-all, season-ending matchup. Here’s a daunting fact in that regard: Romo is just one-for-seven in such scenarios.
After yesterday’s game, Romo sounded rightfully dejected. And he spoke to reporters like the last thing he wanted to do was think about was his “legacy” with this once-storied franchise.
“You put everything you have into this,” he said in his post-game offerings. “Literally, it consumes all your thoughts, and your actions and what you do. And that’s just a hard thing when it ends like that. It’s going to be a rough time for me just to get back to knowing how much effort and time and commitment it takes to get yourself back in this position.”
Some perspective, though: In spite of his franchise-best quarterbacking accomplishments, Romo has only won a single playoff game for the team in his 10-year tenure. He’s lost three such games.
Truth is, this city does not tolerate a loser. It never will tolerate a loser.
All any real Cowboys fan wants is a World Championship, and, we suspect that, nowmight finally be the time to Move On.
Yes, it’s time we all acknowledged that another quarterback is what’s needed to get the Boys back to the Super Bowl.
This is hardly a new idea. But it’s one worth discussing yet again. And, listen, we’re not the only ones who believe so: Recently, Grantland’s Bill Simmons posted a story ranking the 2012 crop of NFL quarterbacks, and, in doing so, he raised the question of a Tony Romo-for-Philip Rivers swap.
And, y’know, maybe that actually makes some sense. At least a little bit of sense, right?
Man, who are we kidding? A Romo-for-Rivers trade would make perfect sense.
It’s something San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos has to be thinking about, I’d imagine.
“The easiest thing in the world is to start over,” he recently told reporters in regards to his own struggling team’s future. “Who the hell do I go hire? Blow the whole thing up? We’re a pretty good team but we have to make the right moves.”
He really does have to do something; his team’s games were being blacked out on television this season due to low ticket sales. They’ve even resorted to selling tickets through Groupon in an attempt to draw crowds out to Chargers home games.
Already, we know this: Spanos needs both a new GM and a new head coach, and he only has a handful of valuable players left on a team that, just six seasons ago, was arguably the best in football. And the best chip he’s got on the table right now? Philip Rivers.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, gambler that he is, may want to take note of that — and quickly.
A swap of these teams’ two quarterbacks makes sense. There’s no denying that these are two talented field generals. But it’s also clear at this point that each could perhaps benefit from a change in setting.
Consider this, too: A deal like this even makes sense on a sociological level, as the proverbial California-to-Texas (and vice versa) pipeline is the busiest channel of domestic migration between States.
Plus, a swap would amount to a homecoming of sorts for each of these QBs.
Romo was, after all, born in San Diego. He has one of those million-dollar smiles. And, historically, he’s been a tabloid-friendly dater of beautiful singers and actresses, a leisurely man who would rather take a trip down to Mexico with his lover than work with his wideouts in a bye week before a playoff game. He might very well prefer the game of golf over football, far as we know. He’s also 32 years old, and likely has only a few seasons left to make it to the Big Stage.
Philip Rivers, on the other hand, was born in the South. At 31, he’s still fiercely competitive, and, though his volubility can be concerning at times, he has shown admirable ambition and a competitive nature not unlike the prototypical Dallas Man — the successful ones, at least. His mechanics are unorthodox, sure. But he has heart. Rivers is a No Bullshit kind of guy, and, after a season of trampling through a pasture of just that, one might reason that he wouldn’t be afraid to count himself among those taking part in The Great California Exodus.
What’s perhaps most remarkable about these players’ current positions, though, is that their career stats are incredibly similar. Romo has a career passer rating of 95.6, with a total of 25,737 yards, 177 touchdowns and 91 interceptions thrown. Rivers, on the other hand, has a career passer rating of of 94.5, with 27,891 yards, 189 touchdowns and 93 interceptions thrown. This season’s stats are similar, too, with the exception of Rivers fumble count, which is mostly due to his constant running for his life around a backfield filled with defenders. (Really, though, both players have been playing behind an incapable pack of journeyman on the offensive line this year, and each has struggled because of it).
So why not just make the swap, if only just because.
It’s obvious that change needs to come. The last time the franchise formerly known as America’s Team won a championship, gasoline cost $1.15 a gallon, Windows 95 had just been released, the band Weezer was only beginning to become popular, and Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson stood trial innocently awaiting his acquittal.
The Chargers last appeared in the Super Bowl the year before that.
Each organization and their respective fanbases are eager for something substantial, something better.
Here in Dallas, that’s especially true. We have what’s called a Winning Culture. We call for excellence. And this sportswriter believes that Philip Rivers can answer that call.
If you give Philip Rivers a vertical threat like he had in Vincent Jackson, an offensive line at least as capable as this year’s Crimson Tide and a healthy set of halfbacks, he’s still as high-caliber as quarterbacks come. His downward spiral in San Diego has come recently only due to mismanagement and the frail elements that surround him. The bigger truth is this: Rivers has three times as many playoff wins as our guy does.
Perhaps the bigger question here isn’t whether a Romo-for-Rivers swap makes sense, but whether the Charges would even be willing to pull the trigger on such an option.
Who knows, really, whether the Cowboys would? Jerry Jones is predictably unpredictable at this point, so that’s probably anyone’s guess.
But — as Jerry knows all too well — if he doesn’t do something, and fast, his team’s drift into obscurity will only continue.
So why not this move? Really. Why not?