The biggest knock against Romo is that he didn't start a game until almost half-way through the season (week 8 to be exact). But these same experts say that Romo is the catalyst for the Cowboys sudden take off. They've gone 6-2 with him at the helm (including one wacky loss in Washington - Romo's only road loss).
It seems odd that experts on ESPN and around the country are quick to point out that Romo has only started eight games this year, but no one remembers that Larry Johnson started only nine games last season and still made the Pro Bowl. (Note: Romo will have started 10 regular season games this year if he stays healthy)
No one disagreed with LJ's selection last year despite not coming in as a start until Week 10, so what is the problem with Romo's selection? There isn't one.
Since taking over, however, Romo has put up Pro Bowl numbers:
---183/276 (66%), 2440 yards, 16 TDs, 10 INTs for a QB rating of 98.4 (second best in the NFL)
Also, if you were to multiply Romo's numbers from this season to match if he had played since Week 1, he'd currently have 28 TDs (19 INTs) and 4270 yards, which would lead the league in both catagories (Peyton Manning has 26 TDs, and Drew Brees has 4240 yards).
To put that in perspective of the other Pro Bowl quarterback selections in the NFC:
---Drew Brees: 4240 yards, 25 TDs, 11 INTs for a rating of 98.2
---Marc Bulger: 3665 yards, 19 TDs, 8 INTs for a rating of 89.5
As far as other potential NFC quarterback candidates, it would be difficult to make a case for any of them:
--Brett Favre: 3315 yards, 17 TDs with 15 INTs (74.8 rating)
--Donovan McNabb: 2647 yards, 18 TDs, 6 INTs and was an early MVP candidate - has the stats, but because he's injured it would be a waste of a pick because the Pro Bowl committee would have to select an alternate anyway
--Michael Vick: 2284 yards, over 1000 rushing yards, 19 TDs, 11 INTs - had Vick not lost the head-to-head match up versus Romo when the Cowboys beat the Falcons 38-28 Saturday, Vick probably would have been selected
Tony Romo is a Pro Bowl quarterback. He isn't a league MVP, a Hall of Famer or even the next superstar quarterback ... yet, but he's taken the first step this season and deserves this selection.
The other Cowboys' Pro Bowl picks included:
Roy Williams, safety - It's not the big blue star that makes receivers think twice about going over the middle at Texas Stadium. It's the fact that the now-four-time Pro Bowler can make any pass-catcher see stars with one bone-crushing hit.
DeMarcus Ware, linebacker - If you saw his interception of Michael Vick and the touchdown return that ensued, you know why Ware is going to Honolulu.
Mat McBriar, punter - When the Cowboys offense has stalled, McBriar has put opponents' backs to the wall all season. His 48.3 yards per punt is tops in the league.
Stars staying home
Some Dallas Cowboys could arguably be with their four teammates in Hawai'i on Feb. 10, but unless other selections drop out, they won't be making the trip. He's a look at some Cowboys who could have been considered:
Terrell Owens, wide receiver
I know, I know, he's a "big headache," a "distraction," "had an accidental overdose," yada yada yada. The bottom line is that TO is a game-changing receiver. Romo's success is directly related to the flamboyant flanker.
Owens has 11 touchdowns on the season, more than any other NFC Pro Bowl receiver: Torry Holt (10), Donald Driver (7), Steve Smith (6) and Anquan Boldin (4). While Owens has fewer yards than all except Boldin, he's not far behind.
The biggest things holding TO back are: 1. his league-high 15 drops, and 2. the fact that he's TO. Any other receiver with his numbers would be Hawai'i-bound, and if any of the four NFC receivers drop out, TO should be the first one called. There's no way around it: he's helped more than he's hurt Dallas this year.
NFC receiving yards leaders
Donald Driver (GB) .............. 80 rec / 1173 yards
Roy Williams (DET) ............. 70 rec / 1127 yards
Steve Smith (CAR) ............... 76 rec / 1081 yards
Torry Holt (STL) .................. 80 rec / 1044 yards
Terrell Owens (DAL) ..... 77 rec / 1040 yards
Anquan Boldin (ARI) ............ 75 rec / 1027 yards
Marion Barber III, running back
He is the NFC's leader in touchdowns with 15. Overall he's tied with Kansas City's LJ for second behind LaDainian Tomlinson (31). He may not get a lot of carries, but when there is dirty work to be done, Big Bill gives the rock to MB3.
The running backs ahead of him are having good seasons. Frank Gore leads the NFC with 1491 rushing yards, and Tiki Barder is on his tail with 1357. Steven Jackson has 1236 yards, but has managed to find the end zone 10 times this season. All three have been called upon to carry the load for their respective teams in crunch time.
Terrance Newman, cornerback
He is emerging as a shut down corner in the NFL. While is not yet at the Champ Bailey level, he has been improving ever since he came into the league. As dallascowboys.com's Mickey Spagnola pointed out, Newman got shafted this season. Look for T-New to make the trip to Hawai'i next February. The guy can play.