Tom Brady is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. He is mentioned alongside names like Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, and Dan Marino. While he has the career stats to back it up, is he really what people think he is? Is there someone in the league right now who is better? I think so.
Tony Romo doesn’t have the gaudy career numbers that Brady has, mostly due to injury problems, but he certainly has more talent. Put public perception aside and disregard the fact that Brady is a compiler. Let’s start with Tom Brady not only playing his entire career under one head coach but now make that head coach the best coach in the history of the NFL. To show how big of an effect this has had on Brady’s career, look at the Patriots’ record when Brady doesn’t play. Matt Cassel came in and went 10-5, completed over 63% of his passes, threw for 3,693 yards (better than some of Brady’s seasons), and threw 21 touchdowns (which is more than Brady had in his first season with the Patriots in equal games). What did Cassel do when he left New England? He basically did nothing.
Brady is also suspended for the first four games of this season. So far only one of those games has been played. It was against the Arizona Cardinals, widely considered to have one of the best rosters in all of football this season. Making the start in Brady’s place is Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s worth noting that not only is he going against a very good Cardinals team, it’s on the road and it’s his first career start. You would expect the drop off to be tremendous considering how great Brady is, right? Wrong. Garoppolo came in and went 24 for 33, threw for 257 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and, most importantly, got the win in a hostile environment.
Seeing what the Patriots are able to do in Brady’s absence, we can now take a look at what the Cowboys are able to do when Romo is out. Since 2006 Romo has started in 127 games with a record of 78-49 for a .614 winning percentage. Without Romo in that same span the Cowboys went 9-24 for a .272 winning percentage. That is an incredible drop off, something the Patriots never felt without Brady.
If you want to look at the passing numbers (not the ones Brady has compiled over all the majoritively healthy years of his career) then we can look at the advanced stats provided by Pro Football Reference. Romo is better in yards per attempt index (117 to 109), net yards per attempt index (116 to 112), adjusted yards per attempt index (116 t0 115), completion percentage index (115 to 110), passing touchdown percentage index (117 to 115), and has the same exact passer rating index.
If you were to switch Romo and Brady’s situations, giving Romo a hall of fame coach his entire career and a system conducive to winning no matter the pieces, would the public perception change on them? It most certainly would. Romo is the better quarterback of the two while Tom Brady is, frankly, overrated.
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